Talisman House

A Further Succinct Life: William Bronk's Books on Talisman House Press

 William Bronk states, at the conclusion of his poem "Your Way Too," that "Things are far / more complicated than we say they are" (Manifest; and Furthermore, 7). To read the poetry of Bronk is to enter into his rigorous investigation of the complexities of the world as well as his examination of the very tools by which the world is measuredólanguage and conceptual forms. And even though Bronk recognizes the inherent limitations of language, his poetry has continued to relentlessly pursue the means of naming the world and, consequently, bringing the world into the light. Bronk's poetry, that is to say, documents his interrogation into being in the fullest possible sense. For example, consider "Left Alone," from The Mild Day (1993):

Left alone as it seems we often are,

we can determine parts of our lives and the lives of some around us. More than that, we say what the world may be, how it came about and why. We give our truth. How great we are.

Something that doesn't mean to contravene us, something that needn't even know we are there, in going about its own procedures, sweeps it all away: whatever we did or said.

Sweeps us away. We are beside the point.
No matter. Close beside. The seriousness of desire is a voice that sings us up
and, in its singing, humbles whatever claims. (8)

 "Left Alone" accentuates the mind ruminating upon its own processes as it moves the reader into the complexities of language, epistemology, poetry, and thinking itself. Yet, after negating the possibility for a human "truth," the poem, nonetheless, annunciates a sense of peace that arrives through the poem's singing. For Bronk, the poem is the vehicle by which the limits of language are transcended, although the transcendence itself remains outside of language or any other "form." In this regard, what is unique and valuable about William Bronk's poetry is that it documents a mind rigorously engaged in the act of being in the world, and through Bronk's meticulous attention and precision, his poems "sing us up" into clarity and lucidity.

 The books of Bronk's on Talisman HouseóManifest; and Furthermore (1987), The Mild Day (1993), and Our Selves (1994)óare the extension of fifty years of writing poetry and thinking about the world. Consequently, much is to be gleaned from Bronk's poetry: much is to be listened to and carefully weighed and measured. As Charles Olson said upon reading Bronk's poetry, "I may have, for the first time in my life, imagined a further succinct life." Bronk's poetry sings its readers into a pure, resplendent (and inhuman) light: "Equal":

This silence, this light where
nothing is heard, nothing seen is that
same silence, that light where once
splendors were heard, splendors were seen once not needed now in the silence, the light. (Our Selves 73)
óDavid Clippinger