Among the sheath of individual works, peculiar musings on the conditions of awareness, perceptions of dimensions, figurative imagery and running prose, a handful of poems make their appearance. They have distilled quality, even if they do not conform to forms. I had little knowledge of form, having read mostly prose in my long adolescence. Poetry was a genre I knew mainly from French class, and the break with the rigid metrics of the Alexandrine. I had no formal training, classical or otherwise, and fed my appetite for language 1and image from the texts of the great modern novelists with their taste for interior landscapes and exterior circumstances.
An intimacy inheres in these small poems, and from them I would select a set to print on my birthday in 1976, making a chapbook I 111 titled “Fragile” out of respect for the delicacy of perception and vulnerability of my self as self in these first years of the 1970s. I was nineteen, and twenty, and finding my way as if I had awaken from a long sleep throughout my teen years. If I had very little experience of poetic texts, I had far less experience of social life, having sheltered in the protective spaces of Amy and my connection to my mother.
Everything was difficult, extremely, and my shyness was crippling. After my first year of art school, I knew only one person by name. The Hillegass house was an oasis, another safe place shelter, and our insularity within its realms enclosed me, again, in another kind of remove. So I wrote, recollectively, imagining my child-self in a solitary afternoon, then thrusting forward into a present in which anticipation and frustration stress me to the breaking point, unsure how to manage the phallic reptile whose potential threatens the scene.
Toward the end of the “Whole” a set of characters makes their appearance. Known as the “pupae” they
will populate my writing for a couple of years.
They come slowly at first, mentioned as “the pupa” at first, a peculiar formation that indicates a transitional
state of slumbering being in the insect
lifecycle, used here as a reference to an infantile, regressed, condition of id-like being. But little
by little the characters begin to act out, to
have their own world and assembly. They would appear in the text of the first book I printed, Dark, and
then were the central characters in Any Other
Pupa and Pupa House.