Garth Fagan reading poetry at R1 Studio in Rochester, New York
Garth Fagan reading poetry at R1 Studio in Rochester, New York

“Poetry is an embarrassing affair. It is born too near the functions we call intimate.” That line is from Czeslaw Milosz‘s “Road-side Dog.” Milosz’s writing is not precious enough to be called poetry. It lies somewhere between poetry and prose. It is economical. He is not afraid to be simple or advance dumb ideas. And yet he effortlessly uncovers essential truths. His writing shares the properties of minimal art but it is also emotional.

Louise thought I would like his writing and I do. I was planning on returning her book when we met at a poetry reading on Friday night so I re-read most of it while we sat by the pool. It was too nice an evening to go in, that and she suspected the event, the last of a series of tie-ins with the Minimal Mostly show at R1, this one chosen poetry read by local luminaries, might just be “intolerable.” We were there for a half hour or so and it was delightful. But not even close to Milosz.

In a Landscape
In a landscape that is nearly totally urban, just by the freeway, a pond rushes, a wild duck, small trees. Those who pass on the road feel at that sight a kind of relief, though they would not be able to name it.
Czeslaw Milosz

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