George Stanley’s poem “Veracruz”


My friend Stan Mir recently let me borrow a bunch of tapes so that we could digitize them. One of the tapes that I was really excited about was a George Stanley reading from 2000 at the Poetry Project. Happily, the cassette was labeled well and had a listing of poems. I’ve had the tape for a few weeks and I can’t believe it took me this long to look closely enough at it to find that the poem “Veracruz” was included. It’s a really incredible poem. I’m fairly new to Stanley’s work but I got excited about it after reading “A Tall, Serious Girl” (his selected poems on Qua Press). A few minutes ago I decided to hurry up and digitize just that poem so I could post it here. Listening to this recording, it was interesting to discover that this was a “dictated” poem (in Spicer’s sense of poetic dictation). Here’s the recording: Veracruz

Here’s a print version: text of “Veracruz”

2 Responses to “George Stanley’s poem “Veracruz””

  1. 1 NEG

    Hey Eric,

    It’s always interesting how the moments of what folks often refer to, in a rather dismissive manner methinks, before or between poems at a reading as banter can carry a sort of scholarly charge. I mean, I love this poem. I remember when Sara first showed it to me, heartbreakingly wonderful (can I say that?), but have never thought it was one of those works that just came to one via the Martians. Not that it necessarily alters the way I think about the poem, but it does enlarge it. I’ve always been anti-notes (at least mostly, though some are really helpful) when it comes to poetry books; they feel too directive. I am, however, pro-banter. I don’t know if you remember me telling you this, but when I first read the new Mackey book, I was convinced that New Directions had asked him to write it. Well, I saw online a video of him reading that introduction in which he explicitly mentions it having come out of a request from the publisher. Maybe it’s that these are moments when we’re not as guarded as far as the public reception of our thinking, which is to say it might seem odd to include certain things in a book that would nonetheless be useful to readers while the theater of the live reading dissolves any sense of that oddity, but but but & here’s the big question: do you think that the ubiquity of recording devices at readings these days is altering the performance?

  2. 2 NEG

    I meant to say that ND had asked him to write the “intro” not the whole book…

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