Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Larry Fagin sent the following list in response to my reply to CA Conrad’s inquiry concerning neglected poets. Larry’s list includes books as well as poets, and in at least one instance a work of prose. I don’t always concur with some of his assumptions – e.g., Grenier’s Sentences strikes me as being more accessible now than ever. And I doubt that January is David Shapiro’s best book (tho I agree that it’s obscenely good for somebody then too young to drive). If the list seems heavy on St. Marks & Adventures in Poetry authors, that makes perfect sense – it’s where Fagin himself fits in this landscape – he in fact could easily have put his own name & work right smack up at the top. And the list, as he himself notes, is incomplete. Still, I’m glad to see Melnick, Godfrey, Borregaard, Persky, Alan Davies, Schubert all here – it made me go out rebuy Merton’s book as well as the Hamilton selected. And I purchased a copy of the Samuel Greenberg, which I’ve never owned before.

One of Larry’s presumptions here is that specific works – The Hotel Wentley Poems, for example – would shine more in republished editions than, say, in a Collected. Certainly the examples of Tender Buttons, The Mayan Letters and Spring & All prove Fagin right on that score. A lot of Fagin’s list focuses on poets in translation, tho he misses Blaise Cendrars’ seminal Kodak, which is long overdue for a deluxe edition subsidized by the same upstate NY film company that tried to quash the book when Cendrars first published it.

Some of the poets & works here I really do not know at all, or only barely – Richard Kolmar? All I know about him is that Aram Saroyan published a book of his called Games sometime in the mid-1960s. Iliassa Sequin is a British poet who has some very interesting work – “Three Quintets” – in Conjunctions 12, which came out in 1988, but that literally is all I know about her & her work. Killarney Clary, on the other hand, had one book out from FSG & a more recent one from the University of Chicago – she’s neglected only in the sense that nobody pays attention to School of Quietude publications. She’s already been nominated for one Pulitzer Prize & I’d wager that she’s the poet on this most likely to win that award in the future. But Fagin’s point here is well taken – she’s really an excellent writer.

NEGLECTORINOS—poets, books (incomplete list)

Helen Adam. Selected Poems & Ballads. Helikon, 1974.
San Francisco’s Burning. Oannes, 1963.
[Four or more years ago, Kristin Prevellet told me she was doing something about Helen’s legacy but I don’t know if anything ever came of it.]

Guillaume Apollinaire.
[Guillaume Apollinaire is dead. Translations in print are a disaster. Caws is a scholar, not a poet. Revell is an embarrassment. Etc. Ron Padgett’s valiant efforts, except for his brilliant “Zone,” remain in ms. How can this be?]

Thomas Love Beddoes

Ebbe Borregaard [as Gerard Boar]. Sketches for 13 Sonnets. Oyez, 1969.
[But all his work—wapiti, Lean-to, etc. needs careful collecting. One shining vol.]

Joe Brainard. Selected Writings. Kulchur Foundation, 1971.
[Perhaps an expanded edition, Ron Padgett, ed.]

Ray Bremser. Drive Suite. Nova Broadcast Series No. 1, 1968.
Blowing Mouth/The Jazz Poems 1958-1970.
Cherry Valley Editions, 1978.
[These plus more in one vol. with CD of selections from readings.]

Jim Brodey. Judyism, etc.

Michael Brownstein. Oracle Night. Sun & Moon, 1982.
[The above plus selections from Highway to the Sky, Brainstorms, Strange Days Ahead.]

Joseph Ceravolo. Fits of Dawn. [Excerpt in The Green Lake Is Awake.]

Killarney Clary. By Me, By Any, Can and Can’t Be Done. Greenhouse Review Press, 1980.

Jack Collom. Blue Heron & IBC. Grosseteste, 1972.
[The greatest of all “coyote” poems (pace, Gary Snyder fans). It’s in big fat Red Car Goes By, but better to savor it as separate slim book.]

Alan Davies. Name. Roof, 1986.

Robert Desnos.
[How can this be? Doesn’t anyone want to take on Language cuit?]

Larry Eigner. On My Eyes. Jargon, 1960.
[Prohibitively expensive. Coolidge and Hejinian attempted to bring it (+ From the Sustaining Air + Look at the Park) as a Tuumba(?) book but were. . .what? bumped?
by Grenier & Faville for
Stanford U. That should be out by 2050 or so. Whatever the case, as any Eignerite well knows, the correct spacing is very important. Good luck. But. I would have preferred to see the CC-LJ idea—Eigner’s first three books—as a separate item. I don’t think LE improved after 1960. Or?]

William Empson

Curtis Faville. Stanzas for an Evening Out. L, 1977.

Mary Ferrari
[Get with it, people!]

Veronica Forrest-Thompson. Collected Poems and Translations. Allardyce, Barnett, 1999.

John Godfrey
[Needs a cool selected.]

Paul Goodman. Collected Poems. Random House, 1977.

Samuel Greenberg. Poems by Samuel Greenberg. Holt, 1947.

Robert Grenier. Sentences.
[Why not recreate it? Get the money.]

Barbara Guest.
[Her Selected is awful. All her early poems (say through 1973’s Moscow Mansions) should be one book.]

Paavo Haavikko. Selected Poems (Anselm Hollo, trans.). Cape Goliard, 1968.

Alfred Starr Hamilton.
[A new, improved selection]

Yuki Hartman. Triangle. Situations, nd.
[Gem of a poem.]

Ruth Herschberger

Max Jacob. The Dice Cup (Michael Brownstein, ed. Trans. by Ashbery, Ball, Brownstein, Padgett, Rogow, Zavatsky). Sun, 1979.
[Long overdue for reprint.]

Allan Kaplan.
[He’s in his 70s now. Some recent work in the newsletter I Saw Johnny Yesterday is sparkling. A “late developer”?]

Robert Kelly. Cities. Frontier, 1971.
[I know, it’s prose, but. . .]

Kenneth Koch and Allen Ginsberg. Making It Up. Catchword Papers, 1994.
[Re-do with CD]

Richard Kolmar.
[The ur-neglectorino. Is he alive?]

Marc Kuykendall. My Picayune Anxiety Room. Barretta Books, 2002.
[The James Dean of neglectorinos.]

Phillip Lamantia.
[Destroyed Works, Ekstasis, both so beautiful, plus all kinds of wonders scattered in old mags, e.g. Floating Bear.]

Valery Larbaud. The Poems of A.O. Barnabooth (Padgett & Zavatsky, trans.) Mushinsha, 1977.
[Same deal as M. Jacob]

Ron Loewinsohn
[A nice selection needed]

Jamie MacInnis. Practicing. Tombouctou, 1980.
[One of Spicer’s favorites in his last few years, she’s still struggling in the bowels of
East Oakland (last we heard)]

Joseph Gordon Macleod. The Ecliptic. 1930.
[An excerpt can be found in Keith Tuma’s fine Anthology of 20th Century British & Irish Poetry, but the entire work is a must.]

Stéphane Mallarmé. The Poems (Keith Bosley, trans.) Penguin, 1977.
[Is it the only decent attempt?]

Stephen Malmude. The Bundle. Subpress/Goodbye, 2002.
[A true original, he’s his own worst enemy, i.e. there’s a bigger, better, more brilliant bundle still in ms.]

Vladimir Mayakovsky.
[How can this be? (See Apollinaire, Baudelaire, Pasternak, Rimbaud, et al.)]

Gillian McCain. Tilt. The Figures/Hard Press, 1996.
Religion. The Figures, 1999.

Michael McClure
[Is Ghost Tantras still in print? Michael should cut CD of it.]

Taylor Mead. On Amphetamine and in Europe. Boss, 1968.

David Melnick. Pcoet.
Men in Aida

Thomas Merton. The Geography of Lograire. New Directions, 1969.

Joan Murray. Poems. Yale, 1947.

Maggie Nelson. The Latest Winter. Hanging Loose, 2003.
[This is mostly MOR stuff, but the opening poem, “The Poem I Was Working on before
September 11, 2001” leaps out and grabs you (me). Try it.]

Clere Parsons

Boris Pasternak.
[How can this be? There was J.M Cohen and some of George Reavey. And then. . .?]

Stan Persky

Roxie Powell. Dreams of Straw. A, 1963.

Pierre Reverdy.
[How can this be? Rexorth just so-so. Ashbery and Padgett are waiting in the wings.]

Arthur Rimbaud
[HCTB? Try the Oliver Bernard prose in Penguin.]

Lynette Roberts. Gods with Stainless Ears. 1951.
[Excerpt in Tuma’s anthology (see Macleod)]

Richard Roundy. The Other Kind of Vertigo. Baretta Books, 2003.
[His marvelous big ms., Occupation of Green, is looking for takers.]

Aram Saroyan
[I love all his early work—pamphlets, poster poems, prints, photographs, Lines, ideas (the notorious ream of blank paper that somehow squeaked by the authorities at Random House)— everything before he moved to Bolinas—but the greatest has got to be The Letter Book (unpublished), an “altered readymade” personalized to an almost painful degree. And don’t forget, he passed on the Benjamin Braddock role in The Graduate, telling Mike Nichols he was busy being a poet, thus clearing the deck for Dustin H. What a guy!]

David Schubert.
[perennial neglecterino]

Iliassa Sequin

David Shapiro. January. Holt, Rinehart, 1965.
[I don’t care how old he was (15?) when he wrote them. They’re still his best.]

Christopher Smart. Jubilate Agno.

Richard Snow. The Funny Place. Adventures in Poetry, 19
[A joy.
The story of
Coney Island in blank verse (most of the time).]

Carol Szamatowicz. Zoop. Owl, 2001.
Reticular Pop-ups. Insurance, 2003.
[The hardest-working woman in no-show business. Her sonnets (114 of them); a collection, Acme Rubbers; and two stunning long poems—Le rechauffe and New Poem remain underground.]

Tony Towle

Thomas Traherne

Tu Fu. A Little Primer of Tu Fu (David Hawkes, trans). Oxford, 1967.

Orhan Veli. I, Orhan Veli (Murat Nemet-Nejat, trans.) Hanging Loose, 1989.

Keith Waldrop. My Nodebook for December. Burning Deck, 1971.

Philip Whalen.On Bear’s Head. Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969.
Memoirs of an Interglacial Age. Auerhahn, 1960.
Monday in the Evening.
Milan, 1964
[for sentimental reasons]

John Wieners. The Hotel Wentley Poems. Auerhahn, 1958.
[see Whalen]

Jonathan Williams. Portrait Photographs. Gnomon, 1979.
[plus all his early Jargon books]

Rebecca Wright. Ciao Manhattan.
Kolmar, one of the disappeared.]