…[Robert] Duncan could maintain that language speaks to itself through the vehicle of the poem, that the poet does not write language but language writes the poem. Here, however, he connects words with things, language with nature in a sentence that could have been written by [Denise] Levertov: “I believe deeply that we make out of the sound of our mouth a speech to answer the speech, the profound depth with which the mountains speak to us, the sky speaks to us. I see the whole world as creation and revelation” (“Crisis” 65). And with poststructuralist language theory obviously in mind, Duncan went on:
I have none of the trouble that semiotics seem to have of how could a word refer to something. No word refers. Every word is the presence of. Tree is the very presence of the tree, and I have no way of being in the presence in the word alone or in my will that I saw a tree, but in this communion, this communication in which the revelation flows through and through. (“Crisis” 65)
— Albert Gelpi in his essay “Poetic Language and Language Poetry: Levertov, Duncan, Creeley” available in Gelpi and Robert J. Bertholf‘s Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov: the poetry of politics, the politics of poetry, (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2006), p. 196. References Robert Duncan’s sermon “Crisis of Spirit in the Word” delivered at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, New York on February 7, 1982. Available in a transcription by Robert J. Bertholf as Copy Book Entries, (Buffalo, New York: Meow Press, 1996).
"Duncan could maintain"