|"The “Winter Mind”: William Bronk and American Letters" - ISBN# 0838637906|
In the introduction you mention the importance of the journal Origin as "central to the unfolding of a new American poetry." Golding stated that Origin "helped create a movement or sense of community, rather than simply providing an outlet for an already constituted group." If it were not for this "innovative and daring artistic community" do you believe that Bronks poetry would have been accepted?
Every poet needs a community in which to be read and perhaps in which to write. Bronks poetry does not fall into a category characterized by any defined school; yet the Origin and Black Mountain Review circles (which overlapped), comprised of poets who wrote in varying (albeit related) styles, shared a basic outlook that allowed them to cleave to Bronks work. Still, Bronks work is so powerful and aesthetically pleasing that it could very well have found the light of day without the help of people like Cid Corman, the editor and publisher of Origin.
You state that during Bronks first years of college he grappled with "the question of acceptance and perhaps loneliness." Cox recognizes that Bronk "writes because he is lonesome." Do you believe that these issues, combined with the rejection of the fraternity, fostered Bronks skeptical view of the human condition?
I think Bronks skepticism was fueled by these events but it stems fundamentally from his boyhood, in all likelihood, from his parents and childhood surroundings, intellectual and otherwise, and from the innate rigor of his thinking, which developed over time but which is evident in early work. Bronk had a marvelous mind and it was placed in the service of an exquisite sensitivity to literature and all the arts.
What was Bronk trying to accomplish in requesting that his works be printed in the order in which they were written?
Bronk had remarked on more than one occasion that poems would come to him, either whole or almost finished, while he was shaving or when he had awakened from a nights sleep or whatever, and I think this phenomenon was more the case in later life (a time when his poetic craft was already worked out). Thus it would make sense to have the poems published in this order, in part to have a record of a life as well as of ones poetic enterprise.
You mention that you knew Bronk personally. What impact has this had on your research of his life and work, as well as on you and your work?
Bronks life and work are unavoidably integral to my own. His poetry and thought are two models I look to when I write, among those of others, but his especially. His influence is immense, at times welcome and at other times to be eschewed, not unlike Bronk tried to eschew the work of Wallace Stevens, especially when he got rid of all of the older poets books because they were interfering with his writing. But in my case I knew Bronk personally and over an extended period of time, starting from when I was still a teenager, and continuing (with a hiatus of some years at one point) into adulthood on up to the end of his life. I always enjoyed a rich relationship with him. When on occasion I think of him or read his work I am engulfed by his world. I am glad to be in it but I also recognize that it is not my world, and then I have to struggle to find my way on my own. Harold Blooms theory of the Anxiety of Influence is an apt way to think of my relationship to Bronk.
--Lorna Marie McManus