Preferred Citation: Creeley, Robert. The Collected Essays of Robert Creeley. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1989 1989.

Three Films

Domicile , Gary Doberman

Think of a couple of things, like they say: "Limits are what any of us are inside of . . ."; "Verse consists of a constant and a variant . . ." Already the world is here, truly, and anyone who has ever had experience of actual confinement—jail, hospital, body, army—common to human state can't really be patient with any assumption that we need to do it to ourselves. "The way out is via the door . . ."

Equally measure is a human preoccupation, even a responsibility, recalling Robert Duncan's "Responsibility is the ability to respond . . ." William Carlos Williams said in his humanly dear epic Paterson , "To measure is all we know . . ."

The artist has specific responsibility in that he or she is often in a territory of hitherto unacknowledged significance. As Pound put it, "Artists are the antennae of the race," and grand though that statement may seem to some of you, recall that artists in our present


society have significantly made us aware of crises in our human world otherwise unattended. I am thinking, for example, of Allen Ginsberg's Howl .

In this film there is a simply accessible constant which you will have no difficulty in recognizing. There is an equally apparent variable . So your question—to phrase it poorly—might be, what is it that is being measured here? I know, intuitively and quite otherwise, that something, some factor, some common event, of human life is here manifest in a most literal way. Well, if you saw a person walking toward you, would you presume it to be a table? There is the circumstance, of course, when the inoffensive hat stand, in the dark, becomes the inexplicably malign monster. And the monster is as "real" as the hat rack. But first things first, so to speak—so consider, literally, again, what you are seeing.

The materials of this film are personal, comfortably so. Nothing in that way distorted or untoward. But the choices of the artist are both crucial and defining, and there is evident attention to what he has called boundaries . One is also impressed that there is such confident articulation of resources particular to film, marked technical skill—"without which nothing."

To contradict, in a way, what I've been thinking about here, I recall a friend of years ago, Tim Lafarge, who used to dance with Merce Cunningham. He told me at one point he used to work out by putting a dime on the floor of a closet, then getting in, locating himself on it, the dime, and seeing what bodily rhythms and articulations were then possible. So at various times and in various needs, there is great interest and use in devising the limits which increase perception of the resources also present nonetheless. "How to dance sitting down . . . ," for example, which is my own preoccupation as I try to write these words—not at all metaphorically, because it is an absolutely physical event for me.

This too is a beautiful film, factually, with a lovely shifting counterpoint in the pacing. Like an old slow blues, after some up-tempo number—so, read it and think.

Three Films

Preferred Citation: Creeley, Robert. The Collected Essays of Robert Creeley. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1989 1989.