Ronald G(ilmour) Everson Ralph Gustafson - Essay

Ralph Gustafson

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Everson has been writing these how many years … quietly minding his poetic business at Montreal; making forays like Daniel into the prides of Canadian poets wherever gathered to decide the world and to read each other's latest; quietly publishing his poems in books published by the littler presses without what he is expert in and has always been retired from, fanfare.

Here, now, is the chance to get him straight in our minds: his Selected Poems of exactly fifty years. Good grief! We haven't acknowledged him in half a century, when he has been going so well, leading us into all sorts of actuality? (p. 65)

Whoever reads this poet is going to have to face up to it: the world is affirmative. The one great thing wrong with it, besides our own stupidity and the occasional hunchback, is that our time in it is too brief for us to get our fill of love. Everson is very out of fashion. He does not use the state of the world to exonerate his follies.

He just validates actual experience with significance; take it or leave it. He takes it with love. Plumed rhubarb blazes above his head; he suffers an apprehension of petals lest the mind open with intuitions and imaginings.

You can tell, leafing it through this book, that something vital is going on; something gay—like those wrinkled Chinese sitting looking at the lapis lazuli world; also something as dark as that light under that closed closet door. Like his housefly set free, he is blustering alive.

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(The entire section is 634 words.)