Thursday, 1 October 2009


What a lousy, wet freshly october day. You can only think about the inevitable passing of time and surrender to melancholy. As I have to finish my MA now, the only thing I can do before going on short hiatus is to quote the very sweet object of my queries, Mr James Schuyler.

Schuyler (1923-1991) was a great American poet, who belonged to so called "New York School of Poetry", including such greats as John Ashbery and Frank O'Hara, but like the "school" never actually existed and was an easy label for the critics, trying to capture the phenomenon of, from the one side, Abstract Expressionist school of painting and accompanying phenomena of the great revival in American arts: literature and especially poetry, Schuyler was not also a typical "member" of this societe des artistes. Being a secretary to mighty W. H. Auden, whose early poetry was the major influence on NYSP, for couple of years, he decided, what kind of poetry he wants to write, or, more importantly, does not want to write.

Schuyler was first of all a great lyricist, an author of numerous lyrical and personal poetry, but more in the style of Whitmanesque-WC Williams-Stevens, than Confessional poetry.

He often wrote about himself, his friends, his sometimes dull and "nothing-has-happened" days, he was autobiographical, with an everlasting desire "to see things as they are, too fierce and yet not too much". he was a weak brave man, struggling with some kind of schizophrenia and nervous breakdowns and then also healt problems, for most of his life. Hosted by his friends, the family of the painter Fairfield Porter, lived in hotels and small rented flats, sometimes supported also financially.

He remained a wise and perspicacious commentator of his and his friends events and accidents, stating once in the "Hymn to Life": Life is hard. Some are strong, some weak, most/Untested. I can hardly believe that there is any line in any poetry that I could more agree with.

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