Sunday, December 18, 2011

Poets You Should Know - JAMES VLADIMIR GILL

NOT James Vladimir Gill
JAMES VLADIMIR GILL
(1927 - 1995)
In April, I was informed by his family that James Vladimir Gill, a contributing editor of The Prose Poem: An International Journal, died suddenly at his home in Lausanne, Switzerland. I never met James, but we had a rewarding correspondence over the last four years. He was a gifted poet, novelist and essayist, and for many years, he edited the influential literary magazine 2PLUS2. Above all, he was a gentleman. He agreed to become a contributing editor of a little-known journal, and the poets he directed my way have helped to give it stature. Moreover, he offered me invaluable advice, and never asked for anything in return. At times, to be quite frank, I have felt like giving up this
magazine, overwhelmed by the work it involves. At one of those times, I wrote James, asking him if it was all worth it. He wrote back, "Everything in our delicately balanced little life is worth it if it is worthwhile, if one can affect even in the smallest way a reader's perception beyond the prosaic, the flamboyant, the commercial, and let him touch the fleeting magic of the ineffable." He was, of course, right.


WORDS FOUND ABOVE A SWINGING GATE

Rest, head.

From a pillow recomposed fall crumpled bits of jaundiced note paper, stunned, enigmatic whispers left here, again, on a late Sunday afternoon. When? How do you write them? From what shadow of the mind do they come sauntering out, firefly prophecies?

Could they be dead flies swatted an eternity ago on the walls of constancy? See how they hang on now, precarious, encrusted wings entwined in a vine, refusing to let go.

Have you noticed how they watch us move into this Indian summer of ours, rupturing time and bone? Life to life, you once said, is a long walk in Toledo by failing light. Light enough that one can no
longer hide.

Shouldn't we then, very quietly, and please, without another kindly nod, fold ourselves to rest and be endowed with special life, like those dolls blind people make?

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