|“As a writer, critic, editor, and teacher, Ed Foster is inveterately Apollonian: lucid, balanced, well organized.” —American Book Review
Edward Foster: What He Ought To Know: New & Selected Poems with photographs by the author
Foster’s poetry in What He Ought To Know "reads in its entirety like a hymn to intellectual beauty. Its mood is almost always one of deep contemplation, a search for harmony among tangled relations. Each poem is an attempt to bring an inner light to the surface of the paper. The desire for intimacy is reverential, yet restrained and warmed by a private friction. This results in a language that is measured in its tone and sensuality, that is somehow able to be personal and impersonal simultaneously. Each word has a feeling of critical distinction, as if distilled out of some more turbulent compound of longing and agitation." —Jacket
The poems in What He Ought To Know "are poised as a cirrus sky, knottings of cadenced desire, unruly, ‘painted blue for love.'" —Pantaloons
"Foster's work [is] . . . meticulously engineered to revelatory movement through cadence and tonality. . ." —Facts on File Companion to 20th-Century American Poetry
"Edward Foster is the epitome of the poet / scholar." —The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry
Edward Foster is the founding editor of Talisman and Talisman House, Publishers. His books of criticism include, among others, Jack Spicer, The Black Mountain Poets, and Answerable to None. His books of poetry include Mahrem: Things Men Should Do For Men. A Suite for O, All Acts Are Simply Acts, Boy in the Key of E, The Angelus Bell, and others.
ISBN-13: 9780975919774; ISBN-10: 0975919776 $10.00
WINTER IN BYZANTIUM, AND
THE YOUNG PRINCE VIEWS HIMSELF
IN A MIRROR OF POLISHED STONE
Constantine VIII (born c. 959, emperor 1025-1028) “was a coward
and weak in wars but in the vulgar enjoyments he was supreme.”
— Theodoros Skoutariotes, Synopsis Chronika
With severance they pay. They give enough if
what they’re left is what you see.
I flowered as a child: corona made of
steel, doors closed and locked, the windows
checked, insuring there was no one looking in.
Clothes make the man: they made me what
I am. I’d like to bring attraction to young men
in the street, but truly in the frost and ice,
no reflection’s true. How tell this audience
of drifters what I found the day they
severed me from all of you
was dark corona, blessed skin,
the secret of Byzantium.
Ladies never look away; the young men fight
for me. They know I am alone, severed from
their blight. I watch them from my walls and
bring the curtains down, thus leaving me alone.
Such is my right.
We could not sit on the Dogana’s steps this year
since they were being fixed. We tried to take a picture
of San Giorgio, but yachts cruised by and wrecked the view.
And so we sat and talked on the Zattere, Doug and I,
not far from Ruskin’s home, today a pensione, very nice.
He said, I doubt the gondoliers could satisfy a specialist like
Symonds now. They’re getting older all the time,
or so it seems. They charge so much to take folks anywhere,
they never bargain fair. (Another Lume Spento?)
The boatyard’s there, and here’s Pound’s Venice home,
where he began to write. But Olga’s house (if that’s the one
we found) is gentrified. Pound wouldn’t like it now.
And so the day got colder, and it rained. Doug (whom
I’d hardly had a chance to know) returned to his hotel,
choosing, as I chose myself, to sleep alone.