GOD (CZESLAW) V. KING (KULIK)

What a monster contest we have here, Marla, at the John Crowe Ransom arena—the Nobel Pole, Czeslaw Milosz, going face to face with Bill Kulik, who made it to last year’s Final Four, and what a poem for Milosz, a short lyric that makes the hair on the back of the neck stiffen—what a poem! It’s in the same class as “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” and “I Knew A Man” and everybody knows what poem I’m talking about, “Encounter,” a half-lit masterpiece, against “Fictions” by Bill Kulik, who brings such a combination of humor, terror, poignancy and style, whose poems take shape where it counts—in the heart; Kulik is the best poet, some say, APR has had the good fortune to consistently publish… oh and here’s the tip-off:

“We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.”

Milosz buries a three!  Rebound…Milosz brings it across…and another!  Czeslaw up 6-0 just like that!

In that novel you bought at the chain, a young woman looks back on her life.
She’s 30, a teacher married to a Harley-riding oil exec, mother of two sons.”

Kulik fires from downtown…good!  Milosz takes it up…Kulik steals the ball, the lay-up is good!  And he’s fouled!  Free throw makes it 6-6!

Hold on to your seats, ladies and gentlemen, we’re in for a wild ride!

Tied at the half, 30-30!

Tied at regulation, 55-55!

Over-time!  And no one’s going home!

64-63, Kulik wins!  Kulik Upsets Czeslaw Milosz!

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2 Comments

  1. thomasbrady said,

    March 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    FICTIONS by William Kulik

    In that novel you bought at the chain, a young woman looks back on her life.
    She’s 30, a teacher married to a Harley-riding oil exec, mother of two sons.
    They have an apartment uptown, take exciting trips, but she’s bored, frozen,
    galvanized into life only during rough sex or when she pictures him dying
    on one of his drunken, lights-off rides across the Throggs Neck Bridge.
    She thinks, as you do, her dad may have abused her: dreams and flash-
    backs tell her it’s true. Meanwhile he, driven by his own demon, is made by
    the author to describe their life as “a simple story of seduction, rape and
    madness, the usual preoccupations.” Now deep in the book, you wonder if
    they’re being readied for some sinister ritual the one will create, the other
    acquiesce to. You wish they’d come to grips but it’s hopeless: he won’t give
    up his rage against a cold, demanding mother, she the hold on reality per-
    fect order gives her. When their fate is revealed, you applaud silently, a wit-
    ness to the truth of those struggles with the past that imitate your secret life
    so well you identify, are consoled. But are you liberated? Any more than if
    you’d watched the war that prompts those sounds of agony amplified by two
    huge speakers under the ring on whose sweaty canvas Killa Quadzilla meets
    Dr. Death in a world of faked falls, stomps and roars, the theatrical shame
    of the one about to be drop-kicked into the screaming crowd, the other
    suddenly real to you in the cocky strut and powerful hairy arms, hand on the
    helpless throat, you and your brother huddled in a corner of the room hug-
    ging crying Mommy daddy please stop we love you we’re sorry

  2. thomasbrady said,

    March 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    ENCOUNTER by Czeslaw Milosz

    We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
    A red wing rose in the darkness.

    And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
    One of us pointed to it with his hand.

    That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
    Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.

    O my love, where are they, where are they going
    The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.
    I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.


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