Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Curtis Faville, as you must have realized by now, is an old friend, someone I’ve known since we attended UC Berkeley together circa 1970. Curtis' selected early poems, Stanzas for an Evening Out remains one of the great books of the 1970s. If he had not abandoned writing (temporarily as it turned out) at the time I was editing In the American Tree, his long poem “Aubade” would have been included. Nowadays, Curtis runs Compass Rose Books, a rare book business.

RealPoetik is an email poetry zine sent out, I think, once a week. Along with Halvard Johnson’s Poems by Others, the one other email zine I read regularly, it’s been a constant source of interesting work over the years. RealPoetik has been edited by a number of folks over the years. These days it’s in the able hands of Kirby Olson, who first got to know Curtis through the comments boxes on my blog. To get on the RealPoetik list, drop a note to or to Kirby directly at

Here is the RealPoetik Faville issue, which was published on April 21.


Curtis Faville is known to many in the poetry community as an articulate and erudite discussant on Ron Silliman's enormously popular blog – – many have never seen Faville's own poetry. Here are a few recent pieces he agreed to let me publish. After the poetry is a brief overview of his life and career. – Kirby Olson


The Wheel

The unconceived stand ranked as if in gallery
lobby to be realized, love¹s abortion
that left them along the way, unrejected
Platonic in barren infinitesimal spaces

The game fixed by chance, we hardly imagine
their agon, brief as mayfly daydreams
that hover whirring above the wimpling
stream, windswept cylinder of flux

Dreams of the same rehearsal fascinate
divert the curse of nations, migrations
through winters of compulsion
to a simple lust: the word made fresh


Near Alencon

Hovering traceries of maple cloister
the misted grey air north of
Alencon. Depth recedes as we trudge a
spongy track at meadow¹s edge
towards medieval fastnesses, forest echoes.


Stones of Normandy, release your wobbling
riddle: How placed in tandem
to earth and force, the cradle of
valor was thrust up amongst peasant
and peregrine equally to a pitiless aftermath.


Light clings to covert among smooth
boles, occasional bird whirrs
crisply at day¹s edge, autumnal burns
flickering along a doomed horizon as
nearer we draw even¹s conjuring fire.



These are from the first bound copy of my new book, called Metro [Privately Printed, 2005].

These are chosen at random from that book:




gin like sound



materiality, the fly


is BLACK &







spills from the box



  C    H    I    N    E    S    E


brush       strokes      on       water





persimmons in season bitterly sweet


yet cloying



     S I L V E R   H A L I D E S


hay barn dust thru boards' particled light





lip liner on the sunset





imagine Oscar in St. Louis


I graduated from Berkeley in English in 1970, MFA Poetry and MA English from University of Iowa, Master's Certificate in Landscape Architecture from Berkeley. 27 years with DHW in San Francisco. Large format photographer. Landscape Designer. Composer of music for keyboard and guitar. Erstwhile writer of poetry (abandoned novel Dominique, or Chance Regained). Gourmand and connoisseur of fine wines, single malt scotch, and the well-made cocktail. Three Siamese cats. One wife of 36 years. Alfa Romeo convertible. Presently full-time antiquarian/rare book dealer specializing in modern firsts, poetry, photography and gastronomy, genres. Widely traveled in U.S., Europe. One year in Japan (1985). Born 1947 (Leo). Midwestern parentage. Father was a conscientious objector, architect. Mother was photographic retoucher, manuscript typist (for Jessamyn West, Arthur Hailey, and M.F.K. Fisher). Grew up in Napa, California in the tame and shorn 1950's, the wild and woolly 1960's. Lapsed Presbyterian. God forbid.

Curtis Faville