Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sylvester Pollet’s Backwoods Broadsides have finally come to a conclusion, with the publication of Jonathan Green’s Songs of Farewell, a gathering of 15 poems published on a single sheet of paper, the 100th such “broadside” in Pollet’s series. In its 12 years, Backwoods Broadsides has been a Who’s Who of mostly post-New American poetics, including such authors as

Bob Arnold
Amiri Baraka
Tom Beckett
George Bowering
Nicole Brossard
Lee Ann Brown
Cid Corman
Robert Creeley
Mary de Rachelwitz
Tsering Wangmo Dhompa
Diane Di Prima
Sharon Doubiago
Rachel Blau DuPlessis
George Economou
Clayton Eshleman
Ted Enslin
Kathleen Fraser
Ben Friedlander
Michael Heller
Dick Higgins
Jack Hirschman
Anselm Hollo
Ronald Johnson
Devin Johnston
Pierre Joris
Robert Kelly
Joanne Kyger
James Laughlin
Jackson Mac Low
Osip Mandelstam
David Meltzer
Stephen Paul Miller
Jennifer Moxley
Sheila E. Murphy
A.L. Nielsen
Hoa Nguyen
Alice Notley
Peter O’Leary
Rochelle Owens
Bern Porter
Kristin Prevallet
Meredith Quartermain
Peter Quartermain
Carl Rakosi
Joan Retallack
Jerome Rothenberg
Aram Saroyan
Andrew Schelling
Armand Schwerner
Dale Smith
John Taggart
Anne Tardos
Nathaniel Tarn
Sotère Torregian
Robert Vas Dias
Anne Waldman
Keith Waldrop
Rosmarie Waldrop

Plus maybe 40 more. I do believe that he only “repeated” two contributors in the entire series, Sheila Murphy (once solo, once in a collaboration with Doug Barbour) and Clayton Eshleman (once in his own right, once as translator for César Vallejo).

One amazing aspect of this series is that you can still get it all or in parts. Back issues – and they’re all back issues now – go for $1 postpaid in the US (“Canada/international add postage” reads the flyer, suggesting perhaps that Canada is not fully international vis-à-vis the U.S.). Complete sets are available for $100 postpaid in the US (international airmail add $10). I’m only willing to tell you this because my check for $100 is already in the mail. Send your check (which I would make out to Sylvester directly) to Sylvester Pollet, 963 Winkumpaugh Rd., Ellsworth Maine 04605-9529.

Here is Jonathan Greene’s title poem from the last “chaplet,” “Songs for Farewell”:

They say his robe is flowing.
He, too, flowing downstream . . .
wave, goodbye.


To leave like a winning dive,
clean into the water like a knife,
no splash.