Poetry of moments; Later, by Robert Creeley. New York: New Directions. $4.95, paper.; The Morning Star, by Kenneth Rexroth. New York: New Directions. $9, cloth. $3 .95, paper.
Robert Creeley's poems aspire to the condition of "instantaneous intimacy." A typical poem runs narrowly down the page, two or three words at a time. Morning begins. The sun rises, and then the antenna tower catches the first light shines for an instant silver while, separate from the houses . . .
Such poems are soon begun, soon finished. An image or two, a hawk's swoop, a bird's squeak, a quick dip in the image pool.
Those looking for a longer swim, a few laps up and down the pool, will not be altogether disappointed. There are poems of four or five pages in length, wherein the poet ruminates about "the nuttiness of existence," or about "plastic America," or about rumination itself: "This thinking/is a place itself/unthought , which comes/to be the world."
The best that can be said for such pseudoprofundities is that they are brief and unpompous. This is Creeley's fifth book of poems. It is "Later." He is in his 50s now, and his advice, for what it's worth, in this nutty, or absurd, and plastic age is to "think less/of your life as labor/. . . Simply live."
Kenneth Rexroth is in his 70s, and his books and translations are too numerous to number.He has been living in Japan lately, and, Japaneselike, has become a creature of the floating world. He writes: Time has had a stop. Space is gone. Grasping and consequence Never existed The aeons have fallen away.
This, of course, from another Japan. Not the one busily exporting Hondas and Toyotas.
In Rexroth's Orient there are plovers that "cry in the/Dark over the high moorland" and a remarkable "mist-drenched, moonlit" spiderweb, the work of an orb-weaver, that reminds the poet of the "net of Indra,/The compound of infinites of infinities."
Rexroth and Creely are both looking, in their own distinct ways, for a sort of day-to-day mysticism. A poetry of direct statement and simple clear ideas. A poetry free of superfluous rhetoric. One might call it a poetry of moments.