Saturday, August 12, 2006
One new journal that has started up this summer that promises to make a significant contribution to American poetics is Celery Flute: The Kenneth Patchen Newsletter, edited by Douglas Manson out of
Mason, in his introduction, calls the journal
the beginning of a critical reassessment of a poetic career that stands out in twentieth-century American literature for its ability to astonish, arrest, and reveal, for its unique historical and cultural importance, and as an example of the ongoing suppression of a popular, radical avant-garde practice of innovation in poetic form.
In addition to an this editor’s note, the first issue contains a piece by Michael Basinski, who discusses Patchen’s correspondence with Jonathan Williams & contemplates ways in which to historically place this unique working class radical poet/painter, given that the categories still widely available (New American, etc.) still fail to address what was happening in poetry prior to 1950 – it was not simply New Critical/Fugitive, Objectivist, Pound-Williams, etc. – there was more (and different) that has yet to be understood.
Manson attempts to accomplish much the same thing in a long piece – it’s really the great find of the first issue – that uses the concept of prepoetics to compare & contrast the careers of Patchen & the likeminded (tho historically later) Canadian poet bp Nichol.
This is followed with two pieces relating to another early radical poet associated with Patchen & the evolution of the literary scene in the Village, Holly Beye (a deep neglectorino). First is a review of Beye’s journals,
At 34 pages, the first issue has been heavily seeded by Manson doing triple (maybe quadruple) duty, editing, writing three pieces & publishing the journal. Hopefully, Celery Flute will resonate with a readership & generate more work from a broader range of participants. There’s a lot here, for example, that I could stand to learn, all of it worth the effort.
My only complaint is that the journal needs to have a web site, especially so that it can post out-of-print past issues to the web and ease the process of acquisition. The first issue costs $7 and a four issue subscription is $20 for individuals, $35 for institutions, check or money order payable to Douglas Manson & sent to Celery Flute,