On Roy Fisher

August Kleinzahler

It’s always Roy Fisher who comes to mind when I consider the phenomenon of those who come to know a place, especially a city, through literature, photography, painting, film or music, or all of the above, and then collide with the fact of the place in real time. I wonder, then, whether the idea of the place, the imaginative site, is displaced by the so-called reality of buildings, cars, sidewalks, pedestrians, the particular light, or if the buildings, pedestrians and so on are made to accommodate the contours of the already present idea of the place. Perhaps a bit of both. Fisher, who taught American literature at Keele and played jazz piano in the traditional ‘Chicago style’, carried a great deal of Chicago around in his head.

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