Alice Notley

De Amerikaanse dichteres Alice Notley werd geboren op 8 november 1945 in Bisbee, Arizona, en groeide op in Needles, Californië. Ze behaalde in 1967 een bA aan Barnard College en een MFA van de Writers Workshop aan de Universiteit van Iowa in 1969. Ze verhuisde regelmatig in haar jeugd (San Francisco, Bolinas, Londen, Essex, Chicago) en trouwde uiteindelijk met de dichter Ted Berrigan in 1972, met wie ze twee zonen had. In het begin van de jaren zeventig vestigde Notley zich in de Lower East Side van New York, waar zij al enkele decennia zeer betrokken was bij de lokale literatuurscene. In 1979 ontving ze een fellowship van de National Endowment for the Arts. Na Berrigan’s dood in 1983 trouwde ze met de Britse dichter Douglas Oliver. Hoewel zij vaak wordt gezien als een prominent lid van de eclectische tweede generatie van de New York School, toont haar poëzie ook een voortdurende fascinatie met de woestijn en zijn bewoners. Tot Notley’s dichtbundels behoren “Certain Magical Acts” (2016); Songs and Stories of the Ghouls (2011); Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems 1970-2005 (2006), waarvoor zij de Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets for the best book of the year;kreeg; “Disobedience” (2001), winnaar van de 2002 International Griffin Poetry Award; “Mysteries of Small Houses” (1998); “Selected Poems of Alice Notley” (1993); “Margaret and Dusty” (1985); en “Sorrento (1984). Haar werk omvat verder collages, aquarellen en schetsen. Notley heeft de Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry ontvangen en was finalist voor de Pulitzer-prijs. In 2001 kreeg ze zowel een Academy Award in Literature van de American Academy of Arts and Letters en de Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award. In 2015 ontving zij de Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Momenteel woont zij in Parijs.

Poem 3

Why do I want to tell it
it was the afternoon of November
15th last fall and I was waiting
for it whatever it would be like
it was afternoon & raining but it
was late afternoon so dark outside my
apartment and I was special in that
I saw everything through a heightened
tear, things seemed dewy, shiny
and so I knew there was a cave
it was more or less nearby as in my
apartment it was blue inside it
dark blue like an azure twilight and the
gods lived in the cave they who
care for you take care of at death and
they had cared for Ted and were there for me
too and in life even now


The Anthology

No tone of voice being sufficient to the occasion
Flash that’s all, that we’re here. Are you ever
sarcastic and unlikeable       Mentally we are the
cast of one epic thought: You. How many
of you sweep through me, as I ride the métro
leading you, because I have to and not be poignant
oh who’s written anything poignant since . . .  

An old woman of indeterminate race, in white hat
and scarf, no teeth staring back at me.
He sounded brittle and superior last night, do the
dead do that; Grandma had a plethora of tones of voice
compared to anyone in this anthology. Our

anthology, he says, being mental is complex
as hell. How do you keep track of your poems? Any-
one remembers what they like, but you have constantly
to emit them . . . Everyone’s at me, Drown it
out, thinking of an icon emerald-throated.

I see the alley house at night dark I’m trying
to be pure again, but I want all the tones.
When you’re dead you can have them . . .  thick
marine dark from the fencelike oleanders and a moon
calling to white boards. Enter. Lie down in
your own bed, in the room where Momma found a scorpion.

Alice Notley (Bisbee, 8 november 1945)