Saturday, July 31, 2010
In 1965, when I first saw Allen Ginsberg at the Berkeley Poetry Conference, he was introduced as a man who had just been harassed by the police in Prague & expelled from Czechoslovakia. At that same conference, Charles Olson gave such a rowdy & endless “talk” that campus security finally cut the power to the room to shut it down. Immediately after the conference, Louis Simpson, a UC English Department professor, announced he was accepting a position on the East Coast because there was no support for poetry in a place like Berkeley – it was apparent that he meant his kind of poetry. This was carried in the local papers with none of the requisite contextualization.
Just 18, I was already reading the likes of Norman Podhoretz’ attacks on the Beats. And I’d read the introduction to the Allen anthology, which made clear that the feeling was mutual. If I had missed the coverage of the Howl trial in the local media when I was 11, I had certainly seen the coverage of the various court cases of Lenny Bruce, so was hardly surprised when the San Francisco police in 1966 attempted to prosecute both Michael McClure’s The Beard & Lenore Kandel’s The Love Book for obscenity. Since a standard defense of any artwork from an obscenity prosecution in those days – a vestige of the Ulysses trial decades before – was the value of the art involved, I dropped a note to the San Francisco Chronicle suggesting that The Love Book represented an important opportunity to defend the right of a mediocre work to use the same four-letter words. Soon enough, I had the opportunity to watch Robert Duncan (whom, at that point, I barely knew) denounce my reactionary failure to recognize the “new language of love” that Kandel had pioneered, both at a large rally at San Francisco State & on KQED TV.Read more »
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Labels: Kimiko Hahn
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Wendy Babiak, Conspiracy of Leaves, Plainview Press, Austin, 2010
Tada Chimako, Forest of Eyes, translated by Jeffrey Angles, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2010
Carrie Etter, Divinations, Punch Press, Buffalo, 2010
Andy Frazee, That the World Should Never Again Be Destroyed By Flood, New American Press, Fort Collins, CO, 2010
Whit Griffin, Pentateuch: The First Five Books, Skysill Press, Nottingham, UK 2010
Amy Holman, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window, Somondoco Press, Shepherdstown, WV, 2010
Andrew Joron, Force Fields, art by Brian Lucas, Hooke Press, Oakland, 2010
Eileen Malone, I Should Have Given Them Water, Ragged Sky Press, Princeton, 2010
Nick-e Melville, Selections and Dissections, Otoliths, Rockhampton, Australia, 2010
Marianne Morris, So Few Richards, So Many Dicks, Punch Press, Buffalo, 2010
Read more »
Labels: Recently Received
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
How2 feature on Scalapino
Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Bob Perelman & Charles Bernstein
close-reading Charles Olson
Monday, July 26, 2010
When I used the phrase New Precisionist, the particular template I most had in mind was Joseph Massey, a relatively young poet – well under 40 – who hails from the Philadelphia area though he’s made his home along the coast in northernmost California for several years. Massey was / is my model because he’s a precisionist on two, sometimes three separate axes of the poem at once:
whacked to pulp
Labels: Joseph Massey
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Today is Leslie Scalapino’s birthday. She would have been 66, a number that would have interested her not at all. Because we grew up in neighboring towns, she is someone who has been an integral part of my world as long as I can remember. We gave a couple of readings together – one of which drew exactly three people at the University of San Francisco. It was a great reading, actually, although only she & I may have known that. And we had at least one deep & long-term disagreement, which we carried out in print, & the result of which was that we became friends for life. Since she’s died, it’s her voice that has come back to me repeatedly, the way she always said “Hi” as though it were a question, with just a hint of laughter half-hidden in the vowel. Nobody else I’ve ever known said hello in quite such a signature fashion.
So today I want hear her more than anything. I want to point to a couple of Leslie’s readings & discussions that are available through PennSound. The first is a reading Leslie gave at Kelly Writers House in November, 2007, introduced by Charles Bernstein & -- and this is unique – followed by nearly an hour and one-half of discussion with the audience.
Complete Reading (41:28)
Next come a pair of shows that Leslie recorded as part of Leonard Schwartz’ fabled radio program, Cross-Cultural Poetics, from KAOS-FM at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. The first is episode 35 – there are over 200 of these programs recorded since 2003 available on PennSound, a great deep record of contemporary poetics. Leslie reads from It's go in / quiet illumined grass / land. In addition to Leslie, there are segments that include Mary Margaret Sloan discussing Moving Borders, the landmark anthology of innovative writing by women, and a poem by Judith Roche. I like situating Leslie’s work in this larger context. The second is Leslie’s portion of episode 95 in which Leslie reads from & discusses New Time.
Episode #35: Making It Happen (entire show 59:53)
It’s worth noting that ten years ago, you would not have been able to get such resources as these at your fingertips. And given Leslie’s commitment to small presses – SPD’s catalog lists 32 books, which doesn’t include the volumes from Wesleyan, for example – finding her writing itself would have been hard enough. Now, however, we have no excuse should we ever let ourselves forget Leslie Scalapino’s extraordinary contributions to the community of poetry, and beyond.
Labels: Leslie Scalapino