Harry E Northup - Make a poem from tennis, sweet potatoes & ruin. Make a poem from beauty & disgrace. Make a poem from bowing down to a greater craftsman. Make a poem out of women & men & trees with jacaranda blossoms fallen on the sidewalk
Harry E Northup, East Hollywood: Memorial to Reason, Cahuenga Press, 2015.
EAST HOLLYWOOD: MEMORIAL TO REASON is a long poem-memoir. The reader walks with Harry through the streets of East Hollywood as he shares his life with us in language that is joyful, sorrowful and rigorous.
"Harry's poems present American life as well as anyone ever has."—Diane Wakoski
'When I was young I had an imaginary friend who went everywhere with me. Harry Northup’s book turns us all into his imaginary friends. We get to be with Harry as he grows up in Nebraska at the Sioux Ordnance Depot, where he says that his father’s “hand was a nest and that he held it for me.” We are with him in Kearney, Nebraska where he rekindles his love for the theater and for acting, and when he quits college to pursue this calling. We are with him when he goes to New York and studies with Frank Corsaro, reading plays at the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue, and watching movies at the Thalia and Little Carnegie movie theaters.
'In 1968, Harry arrived in Santa Monica and started attending the Wednesday night workshop at Beyond Baroque on Feb. 26, 1969.
'It is a privilege to accompany Harry on his journey, and to read his poems, which are joyful, rigorous, adventurous and redemptive. Harry finds solace in his city, with his friends, poets and community. He finds solace in his love for Holly, and his love for home and cats. He finds solace in his walks through the streets of his neighborhood. Lewis MacAdams has called Harry “the poet laureate of East Hollywood,” and we are with him in his travels down Mariposa to Sunset, to Vermont, to the Post Office, the House of Pies and Skylight Books. This is a book of places, beautifully observed.
It is also a book of vision. We are with Harry in the middle of the night when he gets up and writes, often tracking the extraordinary visions which rise from his unconscious. Harry’s language is dazzling: brilliant, vigorous and original. There is redemption here in words, a lostness answered by words.
'Here are a few of my favorite lines:
“the poet is the most thrilling thing/ever created except for a cow, a/ tree, a mother”
'Speaking of the muse:
“what you have given me/I have recorded/ most mercilessly, patiently, loyally … what strength I had/what music you gave,/ I listened”
“That’s the secret: light / Jump to be near, to clean/ That’s the secret: home/ To listen that’s the secret”
'We are blessed by this magnificent book.' -- Phoebe MacAdams
'HARRY E. NORTHUP'S WHERE BODIES AGAIN RECLINE'
The moon has no
When you do the math
Three ladies like horses
stepping up Vine toward
the starting gate
My friend Jay dead, Al,
Conrad, now my sibling
Still no kindness
from the dead spirit
Within me, within U-Haul
A man, a wife, child & dog
It has been a time of
Believe blindly describes
Hope for eternity
resides at Sunset & Vine
To provide a place
Intersects light &
I scribble those who
taught me, hired me,
Saw me for who I am
A man going into the
To find hope in darkness
To find light within
story, memory, breath
A heart a way
Make a poem
Make a poem from pavement, fragmented & black, uneven,
Make a poem from an experience, memory, grief.
Make an email a poem.
Make a poem from tweets, write it at intervals,
over a day.
Make a poem from death & hunger.
Make a poem out of embracing a fear.
Make a poem out of wanting to tell someone something.
Make a poem out of fear, vulnerability, poverty of spirit.
Make a poem from poems that you’ve read.
Poems come from poems.
Read the language school poets as well as the romantic poets.
While you struggle with learning the many forms,
learn the tradition of poetry, especially the epics.
Make a poem from tennis, sweet potatoes & ruin.
Make a poem from beauty & disgrace.
Make a poem from bowing down to a greater craftsman.
Make a poem out of women & men & trees
with jacaranda blossoms fallen on the sidewalk.
Make a poem from hills & viaduct & sod houses &
country roads & a 2 story red brick schoolhouse.
Out of pride & discounted emotions, make a poem at evening.
A Name Is A Rose
We move our names from right to
Names: Amarillo, Denver, Mountain
Home, Spencer Park, Sioux Ordnance
Depot, Manzanola, Sidney
My name was one name
Her name joined my name
Name holds up an overpass
Flame of togetherness
To write within syntax
Two hands at a door
Flowers running beside
Bequeath herald compose deny
Ladder like military backpacks
Apple cut in half falls back
like a tombstone
What's in a name that cannot be
Light comes from within the eye
surrounded by fire lines
Golden road through village
Light shines upward from darkest red rose
Harry E. Northup has had eleven books of poetry published: Amarillo Born, the jon voight poems, Eros Ash, Enough the Great Running Chapel, the images we possess kill the capturing, THE RAGGED VERTICAL, REUNIONS, Greatest Hits, 1996-2001, RED SNOW FENCE, WHERE BODIES AGAIN RECLINE, and EAST HOLLYWOOD: MEMORIAL TO REASON. He received his B.A. in English from C.S.U.N. where he studied verse with Ann Stanford. New Alliance Records has released his Personal Crime, new and selected poems from 1966-1991, on CD and cassette audio recording, and Homes on CD. Northup has made a living as an actor for thirty years, acting in thirty-seven films, including Taxi Driver (1976 Palme d'Or winner at Cannes), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Over the Edge, and The Silence of the Lambs (1991 Oscar winner for Best Picture). Harry is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Lewis MacAdams, in the LA Weekly, wrote, "Northup is the poet laureate of east Hollywood."