Poema de James Laughlin -Like the Octopus-
Published Thursday, October 25, 2007 by Spyder | E-mail this post
LIKE THE OCTOPUS
I would enfold you in myJames Laughlin
tentacles but believe me
my embrace is loving not
injurious some say that
to confuse his prey the
octopus sends out a kind
of ink to cloud the wa-
ter so too the poet e-
mits ink (much ink) on
his beloved but it is
not noxious his poems
may be bad but their in-
tention is affectionate
they are part of his oc-
topode nature they are his
submarine squeak of love.
James Laughlin (30 October 1914-12 November 1997) was an American poet and book publisher. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Hughart and Marjory Rea Laughlin. Laughlin's family had made its fortune with the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company, founded a generation earlier by his grandfather, and this wealth would partially fund Laughlin's future endeavors in publishing.
While a student at Harvard University, he took a leave of absence and traveled to France, where he met Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. He proceeded to Italy to meet and study with Ezra Pound, who famously told him, "You're never going to be any good as a poet. Why don't you take up something useful?". Pound suggested publishing, and when Laughlin returned to Harvard, he used money from his father to found New Directions Publishing Corp, in a barn on his Aunt Leila's estate in Norfolk, Ct..
The first book printed by the new press was New Directions in Prose & Poetry, an anthology of poetry and writings by authors such as William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Elizabeth Bishop, Henry Miller, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, and E. E. Cummings, a roster that heralded the fledgling company's future as a preeminent publisher of modernist literature.
Laughlin's son committed suicide by stabbing himself multiple times in the bathtub. Laughlin later wrote a poem about this, called Experience of Blood, in which he expresses his shock at the amount of blood in the human body. And despite the horrific mess left as a result, Laughlin reasons that he cannot ask anyone else to clean it up, "because after all, it was my blood too."
Laughlin won the 1992 Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award from the National Book Awards Program.
He died of complications related to a stroke in Norfolk, Connecticut, at age 83.