Oct 20, 2019
by Vesta Copestakes
“I thought I lost my pen but it found me again” says Pat Nolan in his new release - Volume II of So Much, a collection of his poems from 1990-2010. The first volume covered the previous twenty years.
Nolan is working with “the mass and mess of my accumulated writing” which once filled boxes and cabinets before being electronically compacted to his computer. He calls the process “the Schumpeterian creative destruction (elsewhere defined as the dismantling of long-standing practices in order to make way for innovation) of the past thirty years.”
Over forty years ago, Nolan settled in a neighborhood close to the Russian River, almost an island. Peace prevails - “out of the mist duck call rises from the shrouded river” - except when it doesn’t. - “the ghost of a dead man’s truck circles the block.” – When he’s not glorifying the river’s poetry he’s pumping its waters from his basement. “Drop by drop rain advances until awash the gutters overflow.”
Nolan is a documentarian of “the pops and hisses of white noise” or, as he quotes from William Carlos Williams, “the emphasis on the immediacy of the moment.” Nolan’s observances are taken “in the quiet garden of a morning alone” or “watching the clothes go round in the laundromats of eternity” - “the moment in which a piece of green glass catches light/can be as large a day.” He’s steeped in the spiritualized imagery which only occurs when time slows down. - “near the tall redwood tiny birds like a flock of moths wheel and dart.”
Philip Whalen, another poet Nolan admires, is quoted here as calling poetry “a picture of the mind moving.” Nolan says, “I feel like I’m chasing my hat in a windstorm” - “how long have I been tripping down the same flight in pursuit of some mocking chimera.” .
Nolan frequently muses on the oddities of old age while waiting for a transcendence that’ll free him. “Afternoon fades the sparkling lights are birch leaves caught in a breeze.” His darker side counters with a feeling of being “unprepared unequipped to deal with mysterious forces.”
He’s searching for an exit from his complicated mind. “All this self-examination has made me raw set on edge by my own complexity” – seemingly tired of his “brooding obsessive questioning questioning” - “I want to exchange my beliefs for something simpler longer lasting.”
While reminiscing amid the “echoing timeless myth elbowing the stars” he longs for “nameless silence.”
Against “the placid encroaching gray of the coming storm” Nolan reminisces - “I enjoy singing those old love songs” - “Music in the air settle for that.”
(Unless specified, all quotes are Nolan’s words.)
For purchasing and other info go to: https://nuallainhousepublishers.com/so-much-volume-ii/
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