George Pruit was an angry man!...and his anger made him sick. And wishing to forget such things he wrote them away in a poetry of forgetfulness, a kind of studied lyricism where, the peach, for example, was there in all of its splendid aspects, and the scents of its juices hung in in a sweet unusual sadness...clinging to dry air....so that one sensed that lips might moisten, might effect all aspects of a cool Georgia orchard on one of its dryer days where the first fruits arrive in late
Summer...and then you think that you know George...or that you know that well spun narrative soul at least. But sooner or later you realize that all you know is the sovereign State of Georgia (minus Atlanta at anyrate ) in all of its fluid agricultural simplicity, and know it in a tasteful way. And then as you get older (or bother too spend any length of time in the South) you begin to realize, that Georgia is not the issue, that those characteristically Southern things are thrown in, albeit with intense craft, to deliberately infuse a sense of place...because George was unaware of his surrounding ninety nine
percent of the time. In his sterile position in the English dept. at Athens, where he spent those latter years where the body of his recognized poetry occurred...ah! but this is unnecessary and I digress.
I only have two points to illustrate, the first, being what one of Mr. Pruit's poems might be like. And using the vehicle of the peach in one of these theoretical poems, as I have said, those narrative details that we would assume to be the basis of theme and voice display themselves very little. And when one is old enough to understand the trick of the peach, well, the discerning eye might sense
that what has actually occurred is...perhaps...a still life. Not even a Georgia still life! A picture of that simple and fragmentary delicacy that might be placed easily in, say, Athens, but not necessarily
...with a kind of sad, luminous quality. And I as I've always contended George Pruit at the heart was an angry man, one whose emotions were hot and unstable, and yet one whose past could easily hope to fill the basket of worms and apples that make up the self, of swamp briar and sick and poisonous revelations of angry passion whose end is inextricable to poetic form.
Even so, I will say this, when Pruit takes a poetic peach and wrings it of its slight and seminal pungency in a whiff quite nearly as perfectly sweet as an imperfect tear in uncluttered espousal, though I don't see George or anyone in particular there...I get the feeling, that life for all of us, might be like these things, somehow. Well...there's the peach!
And, I know that I meant to deal with George Pruit and his anger...but there just doesn't seem to be any time left...