Tom Clark : TRANS/VERSIONS
In this slim volume, Clark pays homage to poetic masters who have informed his paths in verse. There are translations of or homages to Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Reverdy, Vallejo, and Brecht. A coherent and yet surprising text, the ultimate desert island grouping; these could take the lover of technique and innuendo a long, long way. Birds feature in several of the poems, not least Baudelaire's image of the albatross as metaphor for the poet: capable of majestic flights but out of sorts when brought down to earth.
After England, Clark moved to New York City for a year and from there to Bolinas, where he was central to that important poetry community. He also began publishing his own poetry with greater frequency. Among his books of poetry, many of them published by Black Sparrow Press, are works of transparent simplicity, which belie this poet’s great learning. He was able to find an American voice of his time, which could speak about anything, from drugs and domestic bliss to cultural pursuits in the 20th-century deserts of the American west, to the life in poetry of one of his poetic models, John Keats.
Clark has kept alive many traditional forms, reinventing them for our times in contemporary vernacular. The nature of his work can be at times experimental, at times peaceful, at times lyric, responding to the sounds and music of words, at times historical, and at times aggressive in its willingness to deal with current situations on the street. This is true of his most recent poems, which depict nocturnal walks in Berkeley, California —not the Berkeley of a faded, nostalgic, radical past, but rather the multi-cultural Berkeley of today that circulates in the streets outside the university gates. One of Clark’s greatest achievements is his series of odes and elegies to friends and family, including his elegies to various feline companions. Most impressive and unusual, within this group of personal poems, are his poems to his wife of 41 years, Angelica.
Libellum is honored to publish Tom Clark’s book, TRANS/VERSIONS, and hopes that you will consider reviewing this book or having it reviewed in your publication. If you would like more information, please contact Libellum at email@example.com or by calling 212-463-7598.
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