Theodore Enslin (1925-2011)
Though I always enjoyed Enslin’s lyrical work, those volumes upon volumes of small poems or sequences of small poems, with very often musical titles — Etudes, etc. — the moments of deepest involvement with that magisterial oeuvre came in the early seventies in England when I read through the three long poems that I believe are & will remain the core of the work: the four volumes + Coda of FORMS (those lovely black & orange hardcover books from The Elizabeth Press in that nearly old-fashioned or just British feeling 9/10 point Times Roman), the 490-page SYNTHESIS and the 2 volumes of RANGER (both from Richard Grossinger’s North Atlantic Books). Not much seems to be in print right now, except for the late quasi-autobiographical novella, I, BENJAMIN. I do hope that the NPF will reissue the excellently edited (by Mark Nowak) selected short poems THEN, AND NOW, but that the other long poems will also find their way back into print. They are important texts in the mid-20th-century, post-Poundian redefinition of the American “long poem.”
Here are 2 pages (ending on a comma, in mid-air, incomplete, & therefore asking the reader to seek out the books) from section XXI of volume 1 of FORMS, dealing with edible, healing & other plants located in the environment around him, thus early very conscious involvements with the matters of ecology, the earth-household, & healing needs (it was Enslin who first made me aware of homeopathy). Take care, Ted, & thanks for the gifts of mind & music & matter.