Saturday, November 02, 2002
“What about all
When I wrote on Wednesday that
refers to Carl Rakosi as an Objectivist, or of Spicer as writer from the
Which is why it is not possible to write language poetry in 2002.
Kent Johnson replied with this question:
Isn't the crucial difference of Langpo – historically specific as its "original moment" was (late 70's-80's?*) – that it set down a kind of critical map its topographers did envision (in those early years of Discovery, so to speak) as a guide by which future poets might set their course? The other formations you mention never created such a determined and forward-looking atlas of theory. So the analogy you so decisively draw at the end there makes one ask: Is it any wonder Language poetry is "felt" by younger poets today in ways that you, for example, never "felt" those loose and much less theory-specific poetic groupings pre-Langpo?
Which in turn presumes that
langpo is thus “felt” in such ways, which I’m not at all certain is the case,
given just how intensely everyone I hung out with in the 1960s used to puzzle
over every single statement we could find by Olson, Creeley, Ginsberg, Duncan,
Kerouac, Dorn, Jones, Sorrentino, Kelly, Eshleman & others. (David Bromige
& I once got into an argument with Denise Levertov, during one of her
The other half of
Rather, what I see – & I
will happily concede that my perspective here is both “privileged” &
partisan – is that several (not all) of the writers associated with the term
language poetry saw a role for critical discourse itself that differed from the
one that confronted prior literary formations.*** Gone, for example, was any
defensive need for stylistic markers se
Two other phenomena beyond
the narrow boundaries of
Second, feminism, the gay
rights movement & some aspects of the black power movement demonstrated the
potential power of
What seemed most clear, in the early 1970s, was that there were an enormous number of possible discussions to have about poetry – this Blog suggests that the number has not dwindled – and that there were obvious benefits to be had if it were poets themselves who had these discussions, rather than leaving them to even the most well-intended of critics.
If this constitutes a “kind
of critical map,” as
* A periodization of language poetry would be an interesting project, given that I’ve always thought of it as a moment, not a movement. The shorthand version I tend to keep in my head is this:
§ A period of “anticipatory” phenomena (e.g., 0-9, the journal edited by Bernadette Mayer with Vito Acconci; Aram Saroyan’s minimalist period; John Ashbery’s The Tennis Court Oath; Clark Coolidge’s first short abstractions; Joglars, the journal edited by Coolidge with Michael Palmer; Robert Grenier’s Dusk Road Games) all in the late 1960s
§ The formative period around This 1970-73, carried out variously in Berkeley, Iowa City & Franconia, NH (Tottels would fit in here as would the Coolidge issue of Margins), lot of intense conversations among many key players
§ A middle period with increasing numbers of people gathering first in SF-Berkeley, then in NY, phenomena like the Grand Piano poetry series, the emergence of talks, journals such as Hills, Streets & Roads, A Hundred Posters, Roof, Kit Robinson & Erica Hunt’s KPFA radio program In the American Tree, the poets-&-performance artists series at The Farm in SF, the first collective presentation in Alcheringa, the emergence of publishers including The Figures & Tuumba, roughly 1974-78 – this was the period of the greatest activity & intensity
late period of much broader public response, the keys being the start-up of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E,
§ A moment beyond which langpo was so fully integrated into the broader scene of writing and culture that it becomes functionally meaningless to talk about it as a separate & distinct phenomena – I date this in my own head with the publication of the first issue of Poetics Journal in January 1982. PJ was directed outward to the general culture in a way that none of the earlier publications had been.
** Carl Rakosi’s comment on the Penn webcast that he &
Basil Bunting “didn’t get along” would have seemed shocking to me in my
twenties. Within a year or so of that argument with Levertov,
*** Perhaps one-third of the contributors to the anthology In the American Tree have produced substantial amounts of critical &/or theoretical writing. But two-thirds have not. I would argue that it is a mistake to privilege those poets who produce critical writing over those who do not.
+ Scar tissue that was duly marked whenever an older poet argued that langpo was but New Criticism with a human face.
Friday, November 01, 2002
A correspondence rather in the Open Letter tradition on the “Canadian/New York School Question” has sprung up.
very interesting exchange on the absence of ted berrigan and the NYS in canadian poetry.
reminds me of a thread that came up on a
discussion list stemming from remarks christian bök
made a few summers ago when he and natalee caple were in town and i put
together a reading for them. amidst the post- reading
chit chat christian claimed not to have much
knowledge or interest in recent work by american
contemporaries like lisa jarnot
or anselm berrigan that problematizes the idea of "lyric voice" in their
own interesting ways. some folks here found that claim to be problematic,
whereas i insisted that while we here may hold lisa and anselm in a certain
position of esteem there's no reason to assume that christian
is working in a similar position or with a similar set of values -- both lisa and anselm can be seen in
fact coming out of a NAP tradition that someone like christian
would have very affinity with or use for. additionally,
there's the very real matter of the distribution of small press poetry from the
these latter lines, it strikes me that one book in the ted
berrigan bibliography that would have had the best
distribution opportunities in
so louis' initial responses aren't all that surprising to me. and i think the formula "canpo = NAP - NYS" is interesting as a thought- experiment (and i'd have to think more about louis' compelling notions of "second-order commodification" and metalanguage), but what it gains in immediate intrigue is lost almost as soon as you get into particulars.
to me, the particular figure absent from these discussions of absences, a presence that might be seen filling the NYS/berrigan absence, is bill bissett. born in 1939 (same year as coolidge, two years before grenier, three before padgett and greenwald) in halifax, bissett left the maritimes for vancouver and ran blewointment press from there, though also kept close ties in terms of publishing poetics and friendship with the toronto scene. his work seems to me to combine the countercultural hipness and attention to dailiness of berrigan with a black mountain poetics of speech (more duncan's than anyone else, tho you'd have to substitute duncan's gnostic/heretic mysticism for a kind of free-love pantheism) taken to an orthographic extreme that bleeds directly into the concrete, visual, sound and performance work of the four horseman.
he thus problematizes
coastal alignments (toronto-vancouver being
homologous, in a pretty loose sense and again with substantial qualifications,
to NYC-SF), generations, schools/lineages, and issues of voice, speech and text
in ways that are compelling and utterly unique in
* * *
For now let me just say, in relation to bill bissett, whom you raise as a potential example in Canada of NYS influence, that there’s no denying the idiosyncratic and wide-ranging reading lists of individual poets, and the many influences discernible on their work (so for example in the case of bissett, NYS may be one of them); but that to me is beside the point of how to understand the relation of influence, context, and socially-constituted metalanguage formations such as KSW, TRG – and NYS itself (a name obtains at least to a degree of metalingual function). It really comes down to this for me: If you’re in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, whatever, why would you care at all about the poetic expressions of any other city’s “lifestyle,” unless you were a tourist flaneur, especially an expression that is at times (to focus only on the critical for a moment) as self-involved (the word “American” in one of my emails to Ron should have been in quotes), gloriously vain and willfully naive as poetry from the “school” of the City of New York can be?* What saves NYS from such a critical dismissal is the function of the social in its work (but “NYS social” provides, also, its own unique limit). So much of what is great about NYS is the coterie feel, address to friends. Who does it worse than NYS? Who does it better than NYS?
You can make it anytime.
Words, sentences. Suffering
Is not where it’s at, in 1969.
Now, the heart. A breath. Holding back.
Is it necessary to spend long periods of time alone?
Dear friends: you have all been very good to me.
How to remain in 1 place for more than a few minutes.
Bill is snoring. It’s 6 in the morning.
Reading to learn to enjoy yourself.
Please stay where you are at all times.
What you do is draw everything together, Ted.
Reveal the dark
side & the bright side too.
be afraid to reveal what you’re feeling.
Ron, it’s a good
time to be leaving
It’s more difficult not to change than to change.
The problem thinking of you, Anne, is who am
I thinking of?
----------------is thinking this?
That spells “Release” from Lewis
Warsh’s Part of My History (Coach House, 1972) found the other month
You don’t get that kind of enacted and taken-for-granted social address to intimates in bissett – instead you get the stretched, still somewhat formalized, “I,” and the political concerns, of NAP. It’s indeed a great “American” thing, NYS’s idea of a democratized coterie (compared to previous European notions of the salon), and is absent up north in part because of the, now I’m ranting, &%!!@#! British influence that NAPoets Davey et al griped about and that is still prevalent in public media (CBC announcers are still too frequently British accented, uniformly – sort of like a series of CBC regional antennae – across the country). bissett is great for reasons separate from the question of NYS.
In another city they might have
bulldozed it into the ground.
But this is
the building is still sound,
and the loft craze may yet wind
its way through the
to Southern and East Tremont,
where the Hondurans used to
dance to Los Gaetos Bravos,
Tito Puente and the Garifuna Kids,
and blue sky about home.
At Happyland the single door
remains boarded, the sign
that smiled over the bodies,
shoulder to shoulder, taken down
the day after, the irony
lost on no one, and with everything
else, too much to take.
There’s even a memorial,
though rarely flowers – most
of the families went home
after the settlement in ’95.
It’s ringed by a high fence,
the names etched
onto a concrete obelisk:
Alvarez, Denny; Alvarez, Hector;
Alvarez, Jose; Benavides, Victor…
From a distance, they resemble
sticks, or the strokes made by sticks
to stand for numbers:
Castro, Janeta; Chavez, Carla;
themselves, just rows of names
with a memory looming over them,
an item list, in inverse order:
obelisk, fence, street,
sidewalk, threshold, boarded
door, hallway, stairwell,
Addressing the social in this
poem involves structuring and setting a narrative scene. The “item list” of
nine narrative elements mirrors the nine sections of the poem – sections which
are also structurally presented in reverse order, beginning with section IX and
working forwards to section I. The address to the names mentioned in the poem
is necessarily moot. The narrator’s knowledge is not owned by any particular
person – who knows “where the Hondurans used to / dance”? (The narrator of City
Confidential would claim to know...) The implicit and very modest social
That is, I want to convey a sense of how the divide between Warsh and Connolly on the question of how to address the social, and on what scale (from intimate, to omniscient, narrator), is historically shaped by the border.
only poetic good thing that ever came from Britain to Canada before WWII is
socialism in its 30s variant in the work of Earle Birney
and a few others connected with the formation (by many Europeans) of the CCF,
with a Trotskyist critique of Stalin, and eventually the NDP (these three
elements are related). But their poetry – the tradition that Connolly is
tapping – is, for all that attention to social address, either direly
ornamental in an uninterestingly clarified sense, or else unabashedly
conventional in its use of (well-crafted) dramatic narration. That very British
influence of the social as in socialism (as distinct from idealist German
socialism which prevailed more extensively in the US) prevented modernism from
ever establishing itself in Canadian poetry except as decorative stylization
(that belated decorativeness, as in F.R. Scott’s imagism, a sign of the
important function that Cdn. poetics plays as
metalanguage clearinghouse – in critical terms, part of its colonial heritage).
There is no equivalent here of “the
Circling back to the question I started with, idiosyncratic reading lists and habits, I do think I only read Berrigan in the 90s, and with some difficulty. Ashbery however was one of my first great motivating interests in poetry. I read all of Ashbery right through to his early eighties work, including The Tennis Court Oath and Three Poems, the aforementioned having a tremendous impact on me concerning what poetry could be (as did the devastatingly hilarious spoof in A Nest of Ninnies concerning “Canadian heritage”) – well before I had ever heard of Language Poetry. Actually I did not think of Ashbery as a “New York School Poet,” but read him within the Canadian English/French bicultural divide as someone who, like Hamburger’s translated anthology of surrealist poetry, was reawakening the France-French traditions of Artaud, Roussel and others, including the Surrealists (I was reading these French traditions well before hearing of McCaffery or Nichol).
As to the worldly Christian Bök and his Toronto Oulipoian cohorts, aside from the connection they extend in their work to conceptual art (via McCaffery, Fluxus, etc), their poetic word is stridently a-social. The social is neither enacted “NYS style,” nor represented “Cdn style.” The social as such has been Haussmannized (Brecht considered "asocial" far worse than "antisocial") through their avid absorption in “the new medium” of internet computer forms. That distinctly a-social word results again, to me, from the metalingual inter-border role of Canadian poetics, which can often reduce the social complexity of differing tendencies to their most essential (unreal) terms with success (for example, the role of Oulipo in the literary history of France: there, Oulipo was arguably intended to subvert the role of author as genius, but here, Bök’s reception in particular has been largely in terms of his genius for conceiving a project such as Eunoia and for his seven-year steadfastness at scratching its numbers). A precedent I can think of for the a-social poetic word of the Toronto boysy boys is found in what I call the “inertial word” of Zukofsky’s index (largely of nouns) to ”A” and these words’ roles in the book.
cc Ron, Kevin
* Why NYS caught-on in other
areas of the
* * *
I offer here only the abstract-with-footnotes of the argument I would make if I had more time, primary materials, and brain cells:
* The first
two generations of the
(1) I don't mean to imply that David McFadden would not be a poet without the NYS. He would. His major influences would have been Al Purdy and Irving Layton. He would have hanged himself at the age of 37.
(2) Fones is, I believe, no longer active in poetry, devoting his labours instead to visual art. He was a major poet of the 70s.
(3) At least glimpsed in, for instance, Locus Solus.
(4) Mayer, of
course, "invented language poetry." I'll leave her claim alone for
now. In my own case, Berrigan was crucial to my education. The first thing of
his I read, in the year after high school (while working desultorily at the
local mill), was "Tambourine Life," in an anthology at the local
community-college library. This event was, I think, similar to what Ron
describes when he first encountered The
Desert Music: the sense that there was a writing practice that could
account for the vagaries and particulars of the life I was living, one that was
not tied to the prosody of either the Romantics I adored or the academics I
abhorred. Not long after, Peter Culley was writing a
long series of "Things to Do in [
* * *
McFadden, of course! I knew there was somebody major overlooked (had thought the other year of pairing McFadden with Luoma, in a PhillyTalk). Already knew, though, I had a myopic view on Canadian poetry: Gold, Fones (as poet) I, the hick, don't know. Are you thinking of Moure's early work, Empire York Street, and Wanted Alive, for instance? All my books are in boxes in Philly, frustratingly, and it's been a long time since I looked at a Vehicule book, but I remember them as performance group orientated. On the rest, would love to read now, including your own work, in view of these questions of NYS influence and of metalanguage. Pause Button already makes more sense just thinking about it from this angle (the social porousness of the "I"). But "influence" is such a bugbear! In my case, no greater set of poets than the Language Ps has "influenced" "me" -- but can or should one "tell" this in the book?
Labels: Canadian Poetry
Thursday, October 31, 2002
Yesterday I posed the question of time on literary formation in terms of how individuals inevitably position themselves differently as external circumstances change. Today I want to turn that question around. As I suggested in an email recently, maybe the question shouldn’t be what the role is of Jack Spicer as an influence on, say, Brian Kim Stefans, but what is the role of Stefans as an influence on Jack Spicer? Influencing the dead is just the sort of topic I’d expect Spicer to get jiggy with.
Let’s look again at Spicer’s
1958 constellation, with it’s inner quadrant of “Robin/Duncan/X/To be found,”
surrounded left & right by six intermediary boxes: Pound, Cocteau, Dada, Vachael (sic)
Lindsay, Yeats & Lorca, then an outer ring containing (Josephine) “Miles,
Untermeyer’s Anthology, The English Dept., The Place.” Since 1958, the gay
rights movement – a phenomenon traced by many back to the Stonewall riots of
1969, four years after Spicer’s death* -- has recast the reception &
reputation of many artists, Cocteau & Lorca among them. Pound was released
from St. Elizabeth’s & returned to
The reputations of both Lindsay & Miles have also receded in the past four decades, though not necessarily for good reason. It’s worth noting that Spicer doesn’t place either in that special version of Hades he dubs the “English Dept.,“ although in Miles’ case that is literally where Spicer found her, the first tenured woman in the University of California English Department.
Conversely, the one box in
Spicer’s constellation that has increased in reputation since 1958 is the
furthest pole from the English Dept., The Place, a
In sum, Yeats might be the sole star in Spicer’s figurative heaven not to have undergone some form of radical redefinition in 44 years. As with Dada, much of it has to do with what else is there around to read & compare. New works appear, others go out of print, some old works & writers (viz. the Objectivists) suddenly turn up in print all over again, but this time around to critical applause. Or not.
This is where Brian Kim
Stefans comes in. Stefans’ détournements – literally “recyclings”
– of the New York Times, in which
language from French Situationist Raoul Vaneigem is inserted into pieces that
otherwise appear to be straightforward New
York Times articles on international affairs plays with the social context
Projects like those by
Stefans & Johnson can be said to reread Spicer. In the larger terms of
literary history, both of the later projects are more extreme. Spicer merely
suggests a relationship between his texts and certain journals in Magazine Verse, his translations may
include imagined poems, but Spicer situates them in response to a real poet.
Johnson, by comparison, transgressed all kinds of boundaries by giving his
creation a different ethnicity & placing him into the context of 1945
That sense of transgressiveness, of risk & danger, that were closely associated with Spicer during his life and immediately following his death in 1965, seems now frankly a little stodgy when placed alongside such projects. In the years between Spicer’s death by alcohol & the publication of his Collected Books in 1975, the general difficulty of getting his books+, his reputation for contrariness, the nature of his poems & theories of Martian dictation elevated Spicer’s street cred as the mystery bad boy of the New American Poetry to a level of romantic mystification that would soon prove familiar to any Jim Morrison fan. Today it is impossible to reconstruct that energy behind the original Spicer mystique, and that over time will change Spicer & how we read him.
* Robin Blaser tells me that it was Spicer who brought around literature from the Mattachine Society, the 1950s “homophile rights” organization founded by former Communist Party member Harry Hay.
** Unsurprisingly, the Times, a newspaper that thinks Thomas Friedman represents political analysis, proves unable to read Stefans’ whimsical interventions and has served him with a cease & desist letter. The détournements will be taken off www.arras.net this weekend. While there have been comments on the listservs that these works, which Stefans himself likens to graffiti, could be looked as literary parallels to collage, what really freaks the Times lawyers is its tromp l’oiel effect – it looks like the New York Times except that it’s interesting. In this sense, a closer parallel would be the way Kodak’s lawyers went after Blaise Cendrars after Librarie Stock published his Kodak (Documentaires) in 1924, although I don’t know if a later generation of Kodak lawyers also went after Ron Padgett’s translations published by Adventures in Poetry in 1976.
& Johnson both seem genuinely concerned with the literary quality of their
imagined poems, a stance that places them closer to Pessoa
& further from such literary hoaxes as the Spectra movement during World
War I or the Australian Ern Malley in the 1940s. Pessoa
was virtually unknown in the
+ After Magazine Verse was published in 1966, only one other volume, Book of Music, would be published before Caterpillar 12 in July 1970 began to spark broader interest. During this period, Language seems to have gone out of print. Heads of the Town Up to the Aether, published in 1962 with just 750 copies, and After Lorca, published in 1957 in an edition of 500 copies, were already impossible to find. While Lorca & Magazine Verse were reprinted in 1970, the next few years saw a slow trickle of Spicer’s secondary sequences – The Holy Grail (1970), Lament for the Maker (1971) & Red Wheelbarrow (1971 & again in 1973) – before the explosion in 1974, one year ahead of the Collected Books, when Ode & Arcadia, Admonitions & 15 False Propositions About God all appeared & Paul Mariah published Manroot 10. Rumor has it that a new, more complete edition of Spicer’s poetry is soon to appear.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Objectivist poet Carl Rakosi turns 99 this week. At 7:00 PM Eastern tonight, Kelly Writers House on the Penn campus will sponsor a webcast of a live reading and conversation with the poet.*
Rakosi is our last living connection with the Objectivists. In far too similar a fashion, Lawrence Ferlinghetti has emerged as the last of our Beat poets, John Ashbery the lone remaining core member of the New York School’s first generation, Robert Creeley the last of the great teachers at Black Mountain College, Robin Blaser the last participant in the Berkeley Renaissance (later the San Francisco Renaissance), etc. We are, it would seem, in a curious interregnum, an epoch of lasts.
There are of course an
infinite number of problems with all such easy definitions. Perhaps it is
impossible to find any other living participant from the Objectivist issue of Poetry – the age of 99 will put some
distance between you & others – but what about Barbara Guest & the
Literary formations are intellectual constructs that live in time. If Objectivism lives today, it does so first in the memory of Carl Rakosi, a poet who apparently did not meet most of his fellow Objectivists in person until the 1960s, and then in our own sense of what that collective term represents. Before February, 1931, when the Zukofsky-edited special issue of Poetry first appeared, it is safe to say that hardly anyone beyond Zukofsky had any idea of what that term might entail.
Among the appendices to The Collected Books of Jack Spicer,
editor Robin Blaser includes Robert Duncan’s questionnaire for his 1958
“Workshop in Basic Techniques,” as well as Spicer’s whimsical subversions in
response.** Under the third section – “Tradition” –
The tree identifies “x” as
the off-spring of 1 & 2. Positions 3 through 6 represent the “parents” of 1
& 2, with 7 & 8 standing for a sibling of each. Figures 9 through 12
are siblings or equals of ‘x.” The constellation offers no lines connecting
figures. Rather some are closer, some
How would Carl Rakosi
respond to this questionnaire? Or Allen Ginsberg? Jack
Kerouac? Frank O’Hara? Harryette Mullen? Anselm
Berrigan? Gil Ott?
But this hardly means that such formations are fixed or frozen in time. To see that, one need only look at the three broad phases of Objectivism –
§ The 1930s, interactivity, optimism, joint publishing projects, critical statements, recruiting (Niedecker)
§ The 1940s & ‘50s, almost totally receding, with several Objectivists either not publishing and even not writing for long periods of time
§ 1960s onward, the emergence & success of these writers precisely as a literary formation
In 2002, one might argue
that Objectivism must be whatever Carl Rakosi says it is, even if he did not
meet most of his collaborators until the third phase itself was under way.
While John Taggart, Michael Heller, Rachel Blau Du Plessis or I might include Objectivism somewhere in
whatever configurations we ended up drawing in response to
Even within formations,
individual elements vary dramatically. Spicer, Duncan & Blaser had three
very different relationships with Charles Olson, for example. Among langpos,
one can find several people who have found Russian futurism & its critical
front, Russian formalism, to be of great value. But one can find more who seem
to have paid it only cursory attention, if any. Further, no two poets came to
what we might call Russian modernism from exactly the same
direction nor with the same set of concerns. Thus one can’t say that the
relation of Russian futurism to language poetry is X or Y or whatever unless
one specifies it down to the individual. Rather, it is “part of the mix,” as
are (or were) any number of other disparate elements, from the
If ever there were an
instance of the map not being the territory, such subjective positionings as
these models suggest would be it. Spicer’s filled-out questionnaire is a
perfect case in point, even if we concede that Spicer is playing with the
But what is most remarkable about Spicer’s 1958 map is what a resolutely static view of poetry it offers – two friends, one professor, one poet locked up in an insane asylum, as such hospitals were styled in those days, and everybody else basically is dead, anthologized, relegated to the English Department. The only inscrutable possibility – and it’s positioned on the outermost ring of Spicer’s constellation, as distant as the English Department – is the Beat scene at The Place.
Contrast this with the
extraordinarily active sense of poetry, place & position to be found in
Spicer’s final work, Book of Magazine
Verse, published posthumously in 1966. There we find poems consciously
written “for” – Spicer’s sense of preposition is especially barbed; not one of
the named journals would ever print anything from this volume – The Nation, whose poetry was then being
edited by Denise Levertov; for Poetry
Chicago, then in the hands of Henry Rago+; for
the Canadian little magazine Tish; for Ramparts, a Catholic journal that was at
that point transforming itself into a muckraking antiwar publication, a
leftwing publication that might have attracted Spicer precisely because it was
published in San Francisco, a rare thing for a national publication in those
days; for The St. Louis Sporting News,
the bible of baseball in 1965; for the Vancouver Festival, not a magazine at
all; and finally for the jazz journal, Downbeat.
Spicer’s choices here are as clear a map as the 1958 questionnaire, but the
world they address is radically changed. One might see Poetry Chicago as an equivalent, say, for either the English
Department (especially given Spicer’s paranoia about his exclusion) or even “Untermeyer’s anthology” – advertised no less in that grand
50th anniversary issue. Inside, the poems are full of pop culture
references: the Beatles, Ginsberg’s bust in
One could argue that Spicer
had changed dramatically, both as person and as a poet between 1958, when he
had just finished writing After Lorca, and 1965, when he died. But whether one fixes
one’s lens on the
All of which is to suggest
that when one refers to Carl Rakosi as an Objectivist, or of Spicer as writer
Which is why it is not possible to write language poetry in 2002.
* For more information, call 215-573-WRIT or see the special website: www.english.upenn.edu/~wh/rakosi.html.
*** In the early 1970s, Bolinas’ population, never more than a few hundred, included Robert Creeley, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Joanne Kyger, Larry Kearney, Jim Gustafson, Jim Carroll, Tom Clark, Bill Berkson, Louis MacAdams Jr., and several other poets all loosely affiliated with different strands of the New American Poetry.
+Rago’s tenure at Poetry
is worth examining