Modernist poet to give readings


News Services Staff

GUSTAF SOBIN, an American modernist poet experiencing a new-found and widespread interest in his work, will present a reading at UB on Wednesday, Feb. 14, as the guest of Robert Creeley, Capen Chair of Poetry and the Humanities at UB.

The reading, one of the events in the Wednesdays at 4 Plus literary series, will take place at 4 p.m. in the University Gallery in the Center for the Arts on the North Campus. It is free of charge and open to the public.

A poet of language and its voicings, Sobin is critically celebrated for his ability to transport the reader into the realm of magic and spirit.

The audience might listen to his method of developing rhythmic units syllable by syllable to produce what poet Albert Mobilio called "a telegraphic progression" that focuses the listeners' attention on individual images and individual sounds.

Roberto Tejada, echoing earlier comments by Robert Duncan, has written that in his drive to achieve transcendence through the use of language alone, Sobin produces a "visual sway of warp and ripple (that) in its acoustic surge of wave and caesura...performs an otherwise inconceivable melding of austerity and exuberance.

"(His) stunning work to date," says Tejada, "has been an enterprise of voicing the immanence of a nature as mirroredâin the frequently impassive medium of language...." Critic Geoffrey O'Brien adds that Sobin's serious, original and undeniably interesting work is refined and polished with "elusive...philosophical underpinnings"-a fact that perhaps adds to its mystery and numinousness.

Sobin's most recent book, "Breaths' Burials," published last year by New Directions, took three years to write and is considered his best collection to date. Other recent work, also published by New Directions, includes "Voyaging Portraits" (1988) and "The Earth as Air" (1984). He is also the author of "Celebration of the Sound Through" (1982) and "Wind Chrysalid's Rattle" (1980), both published by Montemora.

His work has appeared in such literary journals as Conjunctions, Ironwood, Pequod and Sulfur. It is also included in the recent Norton anthology, "Postmodern American Poetry," in MacMillan's "Best American Poetry of the Year," Marsilio's "American Poetry since 1950" and Faber & Faber's "Book of Movie Verse."

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