Canadian Poetry Online top banner link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page

Robert Sward. STATEMENT OF POETICS or "GOODBYE TO MYSELF" From: Four Incarnations, Coffee House press, 1991.


STATEMENT OF POETICS or "GOODBYE TO MYSELF"

I wrote for myself
for people. I've
changed.
I've changed since I
began writing I write
for myself
. I believe
more than ever in
music, in the sound,
however gotten, of music
in people's poetry. Rhyme
more than ever. Talk
people talking, getting that
into one's poetry that
is my poetics. Love
hate lies laughing stealings
self-confession, self-destruction
get them all get
them all down.
No one has to
read them. No one
has to publish them.
I am more and
more for unpublished poetry.
That is why I
have a pseudonom that
is why I now
publish poetry. To control
the view.
To hell with the Business of Anthologies. To hell
with Anthologies.


To hell too with the way I
taught poetry in the
1950s, 60s and 70s.
One way and another
I have written angry poetry for
twenty years. Now I
want music only and
the sounds of people.
I want poems
that sing
and can use
the word heart and
self-confession and incorrect
grammar and the soils
and stains of Neruda
and Lorca and Kabir
and Williams and
Whitman and Yeats.

Forty-four years old.
Stands on his head
ten minutes daily morning
breakfast, supper.
Writing less and less.
Evaporating into the air
feet first. I won't
ever die. I'll simply
stand on my head
and disappear into the
air just like that.

I don't believe in
imagination. The prairies
as a landscape
are imagination. Just as
England is, as a landscape,
a failure of imagination.
Africa is imagination, India
is reaching even further
than that. And that
is why I will
go to India which
I will in seven
days time. So this
is a time capsule
in case anyone is
interested and in case
I never come back.
This is a
statement of poetics written
as "Goodbye to myself."

       Goodbye for
       now, goodbye
       goodbye goodbye
       to myself,
       goodbye goodbye
       for now
       goodbye myself,
       goodbye for
       now goodbye.

Robert Sward's works copyright © to the author.


Canadian Poetry Online bottom banner link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Digital Collections home page link to University of Toronto Library catalogue link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page