Saturday, January 07, 2006

Jim Behrle has changed his URL once more. The other day Jim made the following remark on his blog: Silliman's comments fields have become the new Buffalo List.¹

That assertion filled me with something akin to dread. It also made me check out something I’ve been wondering about for a few weeks, which is the gradual de-evolution of the Poetics List. I’ve been a member of the list since late 1994, a few months after it was initiated, and have never signed off, even in the midst of various flame wars. However, since 1995 or thereabouts, I’ve also subscribed only to the digest version, an orderly email that comes out once a day – I get it promptly between midnight and ten minutes thereafter every day. Some of these digests can be pretty lengthy, but lately that has not been the case. If anything, the Poetics List, which last I saw had something like 900 members², has seen the number of posts per day decline markedly. So I decided to take a closer look, comparing the number of posts made in each December since the list began, that being the most recent complete month. The totals look like this:

You can see that the Poetics List has had its ups & downs in years past, but that starting around 2002, usage shot up for a three-year period during which the average number of daily posts for the three Decembers tracked here was 28. My own experience with Listservs, regardless of the number of people on them, has been that 30 is around the upper limit of daily posts over any sustainable period. You can have bursts of 50 or more for a few days, but the time required to wade through even a fraction of those messages overwhelms most readers. However, I’ve seen several lists – not just about poetry – sustain something like 30 per day for extended periods. Which is to say that the Poetics List was operating at something pretty close to maximum capacity for three years running. This is perhaps even more noteworthy coming in a month that includes the holidays, the MLA meat market, and related travel & time away from one’s usual PC workstation.

In 2005, however, the number of posts to the Poetics List in December dropped to less than half of what it had been in each of the three previous years. The average number of posts per day, 14.2, is not only pretty manageable, it really alters the nature and flavor of the list itself – a higher percentage of posts that are simply announcements, fewer (and more intelligible) discussions.

For the past few months, I’ve been using a feature of Blogger that sends me an email copy of every comment posted to my blog. It’s not hard for me to tally up the number of comments made here in December 2005 as well. The number frankly shocked me: 896.

Jimmy would seem to be right. My comments stream has at least absorbed as many comments per day as were being made in years prior to the Poetics List. That doesn’t mean, I should note, that the rise in comments here has come directly at the expense of the Poetics List, only that the phenomena are occurring more or less simultaneously. This is, after all, just one blog among over 700 relating to poetry right now. And the Poetics List is just one among many – Wom-Po, for example, has had 1,036 messages in each of the last two Decembers. Is that a sign that it’s healthier right now than Poetics? Or only that it reached something closer to capacity later than did Poetics? Brit-Po had under 100 messages all last December. Luci-Po, the Lucifer Poetics Group in North Carolina, had 594 messages. Luci-Po, for the record, is unique in my experience in the depth of its ongoing conversations.

In general, tho, the number (and kind) of comments being made to blogs represents a broader, different kind of discourse than one finds generally on Listservs. People aren’t making announcements – at least not very often – and my comments stream has the curious (&, from my perspective, indulgent) aspect to it that I seem to be able to at least initiate the topic under discussion whenever I make a post. However, as any reader will note, comments streams here have a habit, especially of late, of going off topic & sometimes dissolving into testosterone-poisoned pissing matches.

It’s not clear to me who has an interest in reading that, but it does seem self-evident that at least a few people (Jimmy among them: I have zero intention of *ever* behaving”) have some interest in producing it. When I put up my note on New Year’s Eve that mentioned the idea of “blocking the crazies,” I got several emails – not from the usual suspects, either – telling me that they appreciated the openness of the comments stream. So, for the time being at least, I’m going to continue my current approach – I’ll only delete those messages that strike me as spam or as overtly racist, sexist, libelous or otherwise actionable.

But I’m intrigued at how the structure of discourse is changing on the web. It may well be that blogs will be supplanted any moment now by something completely different – tho I’m skeptical that it will be podcasts (which strike me as an inefficient use of time). I can skim through a half dozen newspapers on the web every morning pretty quickly – I can make the rounds of new & interesting (or old & interesting) blogs in just the same way. Listservs are inherently institutional, tho many of them – at least with regards to poetry – have only the most incidental relationship to those institutions. Other kinds of groups, such as those run by Yahoo, have serious privacy issues that need to be addressed, inserting cookies onto user systems so as to be able to track non-Yahoo web surfing.

Watching a discussion ricochet among different blogs is a very different process than watching one in the comments stream, and very different also from watching what happens on a listserv. It’s different also from being at a talk or a reading or a party, although all are settings in which poets can & do exchange ideas. You would think that, as a community, poets might have a better idea what these differences are. But I feel as if I’m just scratching the surface to suggest that they exist at all.


¹ Not, incidentally, the most disturbing one with my name in it on his site (see Foetry’s Alan Cordle wearing an “Obey Ron” t-shirt).

² I haven’t seen a total in quite some time, so this could be wildly off target.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Larry Eigner, 1984
Photo by Alistair Johnston


In his roster of “neglectorinos” on Tuesday, Larry Fagin includes Larry Eigner, specially wishing for a republication of Eigner’s first three books as a single volume, noting that “I don’t think LE improved after 1960.” I, for one, am not at all sure about that factually, nor do I think that the relationship of poetry to the world, or to an individual life’s work, is a question of, as Bob Perelman once phrased it, “how to improve.”

Eigner’s poetry does have distinct phases to it, ones that I expect to show when Stanford finally issues the Grenier-Faville edition. Initially, Eigner’s poetry was written fully within the context of Olson’s projectivist poetics, with its concept of the line as a “breath unit” and the text as a score for spoken rhythms, an approach that was ironic, at best, for someone whose speaking skills were severely limited by cerebral palsy and considerable social isolation. After Larry moved to Berkeley in 1978, some 18 years before his death, he found himself increasingly active in a world of poetry &, perhaps most important, poets. While his speech was never fluid, it did improve as he worked to make himself intelligible to a large number of diverse people, not all of whom understood his importance as a poet.

At some point, tho – it would be interesting to figure out when exactly – his own poetics evolved from a mimicked speech, which is pretty consistently what you find in his first books – the pieces in the Allen anthology are not atypical – toward a composition on the page that is more cognitive & spatial in its focus. Reading the 2003 reissue of My God / The Proverbial, Eigner’s 1975 volume – i.e., pre-Berkeley – first published by Curtis Faville’s L Publications, now out once again from Compass Rose Books, an imprint of L (this time without the pinstripe cover & on better paper), one finds Eigner already in transition. The one poem that qualifies as a statement of poetics focuses not on speech, but on measure:

a poem is a
     length of time

Yet the very next poem poses itself spatially:

O what



Another sounds at first like a snatch of overheard language until you realize just how much weight Eigner has given to each one-word line, so that even the lone preposition – one normally accorded to spatial representation, but here given over to time – shines:





Again on the facing page – this time to the left – is another poem even more careful (and provocative) in how it uses such terms:

as slow


  as time

   here’s snow

     fall while the sun

          goes back and forth

I dare you to read the above poem and not hear the word now hiding there in snow, even as the tongue sends the vowel out on a different wavelength – that divergence of the two O sounds hidden in a single letter is very nearly this poem’s point – that’s why the sun in the next stanza operates like a pendulum, rather than a reiterated cycle.

No poet, before or since, has paid so much heed to the question of spacing on the page – Blackburn might be a distant second – particularly noteworthy given Eigner’s limited physical palette, the ability to grasp with one hand & to hunt & peck on the typewriter with the other. Some of Eigner’s poems come perilously close to being “mere lists,” at least if we’re willing to forget for a moment that the list is the oldest genre of writing known, but in fact are nearly pointillist articulations of cognitive data – bird sun sky treecategory category categoryas if life itself were the endless shuffling of possible combinations of these very basic terms: synapse synapse synapse.

Which brings me to the second half of Fagin’s assertions – that Eigner doesn’t “improve” beyond a certain moment. That, of course, is an argument we’ve heard made about many an older poet, as in “Creeley never evolved beyond Words” or “Ashbery stopped at Three Poems” (or Flow Chart or Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror or The Tennis Court Oath, take your pick) or “Pound peaked at Mauberly,” ”Eliot should have stopped with The Waste Land,” “What did Ginsberg write after 1968?” & on & on & on.

Rather, I think a minimum of two dynamics are at work, the first of these being that functioning as a serious poet – let alone a major one – is not at all unlike being an athlete. It’s extremely rare for any poet to be “in peak form” for more than a decade. But what does “peak form” mean? Most often, I suspect, it means that the poet’s evolution of formal means has crossed over into that rare territory that proves useful not just for him or herself, but for all poets – and for a period of time, whatever this poet does, whether it’s Gertrude Stein, Harryette Mullen or Lee Ann Brown, is enormously fertile not just for them, but for all of us who get to read them. But it is inevitable, also, that they will continue to develop – every poet does – and that beyond a certain moment their development will mean more to them than to you or I. It’s not so much that their evolution has become more personal (tho we may experience it as such, as with Creeley’s later poems), as that the orbit of change of their poetry has moved out of whatever orbit we happen to be in. One could articulate a history of poetic form out just such orbits crossing – their respective gravities impacting one another as they do – not unlike the game of “the solar system” that Wittgenstein used to play, with different players representing sun, the planets, various moons, all circling in their different paths & tempos across a field.

One might then say that, at a certain moment, Larry Eigner passed through the gravitational space of Larry Fagin, possibly as early as 1960. But my own experience would be that Eigner’s greatest work was at least 15 years still in the future at that date. Which is really to say that as his writing exited Fagin’s orbit it had yet to enter into my own. If you read Eigner at all closely – and I own 29 books & have read every word in each, including both editions of My God / The Proverbial – you see that Eigner is almost never lazy – his extraordinary focus never lets up over the 45 years of his writing career, but the gaze shifts, his sense of what a poem is & means is not the same in the 1990s as it is two or four decades before. In what sense here can we really use the word improve?

Consider, for a moment, all the connotations that hover in the word proverbial in the title poem:

My god      the

  we drive in

     all are mowing the lawn


              snip snip

        the firetruck

          this distance


         my town   a giant



           the day of the party

             trees in the wind

Thursday, January 05, 2006

One of the momentous publications of 2005 had to be Allen Fisher’s Place, one of the epic longpoems of the 20th century & one of the foundations of contemporary British poetry. Place is a project on the scale of The Maximus Poems or Pound’s Cantos, 418 pages of superbly crafted work all of which contemplates, directly or indirectly, the term of its title. In Fisher’s oeuvre as I understand it, Place is the first of two such projects, Gravity being the second & current one, although these are hardly all that Fisher has been up to: since 1969, when the then-27-year-old Fisher first published Bavuska, he has had over 80 books & CDs. Just to keep busy, he is also an accomplished painter, publishes Spanner, and is Professor of Poetry and Art at Roehampton University, London.

To an American eye, Charles Olson is obviously the point of reference from which Place takes off, not only because the concept was likewise central to Olson’s spatial conception of history, but also because Place is organized more akin to The Maximus Poems than any other longpoem. It is gathered into five groupings, all of which were issued during the 1970s & ‘80s, tho not in this order:


Eros : Father : Pattern



Unpolished Mirrors

The organization of each is similarly revealing: Place, the original volume & initial section of this book, is subtitled in roman numbers I-XXXVII, and contains, within in it, an internal sequence entitled Lakes, as well as a section subtitled further Making An Essay // Out of Place. The chapbook length Eros : Father : Pattern is subtitled Place 39, and dedicated to the Baltimore experimentalist Kirby Malone. Stane – the term is Scottish for stone – is subtitled Place Book III: XLV-LXXXI – many of its poems or sections have complex numerical titles, such as 76 written as a numerator with 50 & 78 as a denominator, a number of the poems also being listed part of a series entitled Grampians (a Scottish mountain range); some poems are titled even further, for example as letters (say, to Eric Mottram) or “after” a work such as Robert Kelly’s Cities. Becoming, which comes next here, has no subtitle as such, but contains lengthy sections that fill in some of the “missing” numbers in the following order: 44, 42, 43, 41. Unpolished Mirrors has neither subtitle nor numbers, tho many of its sections are individually titled, often employing the word “monologue.” I could be mistaken – my personal Junior Woodchuck’s compass broke down here somewhere – but I don’t think there is Place 38 or 40.

Even beyond poems as letters & the use of monolog, the Olsonian codes hang over Place in poems that are organized as palimpsests, with every line (or in some cases stanzas) at different angles, a notational discourse, references to archival materials, poems (such as “XXVI”) that use horizontal, vertical & even diagonal graphic lines to connect snatches of text. But perhaps what is most interesting here, at least to an American reader – or at least this one – is that Place is not, finally, derivative – this is not imitation Olson. Rather, Place starts very close in spirit, both intellectually & formally, to where Olson arrives in Book III of Maximus, & then develops outward from there. It is, in one sense, precisely the project that Ed Dorn was never able to accomplish, coming to England as Dorn did only to abandon Projectivism there & turn instead toward ‘Slinger, a pop-art philosophical narrative closer in some aspects to the NY School.

Fisher’s own ear is clearly British, as are his concerns (thus a poem such as “the Effra is a torrent” tracks the course of one of London’s underground rivers), but the aesthetic impulse throughout Place always is toward here, this point in the text, the immanence of the word, so that it strikes me as almost impossible, or at least pointless, to quote passages or suggest an overarching course behind the text. One doesn’t follow Place as much as one does immerse oneself in it. Which is a major reason why the presentation of sections “out of order” is never really a problem – wherever you go, there you are, as much here as in the poetics of some very non-Olsonian American poets, such as Phil Whalen. Place is more serious than Whalen’s poetry, perhaps, tho not without its wit – there’s a letter concerning UFOs to the local council, for instance. Perhaps the closest Fisher gets in explaining his initial motives & what became of them is a piece, the third poem or passage from the book’s end, entitled “Second Release: Homage to Charles Olson.” I could quote it here, but I think you need to read the 396 pages that lead up to it first.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Writing of the Jonathan Greene-Thomas Merton correspondence the day after Christmas took me to my swollen bookcase of books yet to be read where I had two volumes by Greene awaiting me, Of Moment & Fault Lines, the first by Greene’s own Gnomon Press, the latter by Broadstone, the same Kentucky press that issued the Merton-Greene collection. Both are good books that felt immediately familiar, not just because I’ve been reading Greene since shortly after he graduated from Bard roughly 40 years ago, but also because he fits into a larger aesthetic that comes out of the Projectivist/Black Mountain tradition, tho less from the influence of Charles Olson or Robert Duncan & more from that of Cid Corman & a certain side of Creeley’s, the poem not just as a machine made of words, but rather a field of energy tightly contained within a relatively small space.

I’ve characterized this sort of poetry before – as when writing about Bill Deemer – as New Western, but Greene’s few months in San Francisco in the mid-1960s hardly qualify & his presence on Bob Arnold’s Vermont-based Longhouse Books website – along with the likes of both Deemer & Corman – suggests a second configuration as well, a consciously rural poetics that has at the very least a passing relationship with Buddhist practice. It’s not an accident that Greene, who could easily be called a poet who still shows his roots as a student of Robert Kelly’s some four decades ago, has blurbs on the backs of these books from Wendell Berry, Ted Kooser & Robert Morgan.

One of the things these two books – and the others by Greene that I’ve read & collected over the years (Fault Lines is his 25th) – make me realize is that if I look back at all the young radical poets who came out of a Projectivist aesthetic some 35-40 years ago, Black Mountain’s equivalent of a 2nd generation, is that those who are still writing & productive – Deemer, Greene, David Gitin, Ken Irby, Tom Meyer – are those who show the greatest discipline towards the line. Many of these also have focused their writing on the short poem, which is to say that as decades pass they all seem less & less like Charles Olson, but more like one another, even tho they may not be particularly in touch.

Tom Meyer is worth looking at in this light, since when he was at Bard a few years after Greene, his writing sprawled across the page – when I first met him Tom was busy with an 800-page opus entitled A Technographic Typography that subsequently went into a drawer or incinerator somewhere (I published an excerpt in Tottels which may be the only evidence of its existence at this point). But Meyer’s work in the decades since has generally focused on shorter works – even his longpoem Coromandel is built out of tightly managed sections.

If Greene ever had a similar early Olsonian moment, I never saw it. His poems have generally always focused around a single image or idea, developed it & let it rest at that. This is “Watch”:

Time after time
the little hand
running after
the big hand
while the seconds
run circles
around them both.

This is an aesthetics of plainness, so much so that a reader might miss the pun hiding in the first line. “The Folks Near Stoney Creek” is only slightly more complicated:

They burned the siding
off the house
to keep warm.

Till you could
see them
watching TV

through the
walls that were
mostly not there.

Younger poets often find it frustrating to write a line as simple as through the, as if nothing were happening here. In fact, the same doubleness that characterized Time after time shows up in exactly this line of this poem. There is no way this poem works or even coheres without through the & setting it off this way is critical to the poem’s form, not just the three triads, but keeping the prosody here clear – the only lines that are allowed to have more than three syllables are the very first & very last.

Of Moment was published in 1998, a collection of Greene’s “Eastern-flavored” poems that one could see accompanying his selected poems, Inventions of Necessity, published that same year. In some ways, Of Moment is my favorite of Greene’s books, just because the scale of the short-short poem – anywhere from two to twelve lines – really focuses Greene’s strengths as a poet:

To the Fore

Afternoon light singles out
the sycamores on the riverbank.

Or this untitled piece, one of the longer poems in the book:

One leaf
suspended mid-air

my path

away from
the spider’s


Like “The Folks Near Stoney Creek,” this poem uses syllable counts to organize its form: the two “outer” stanzas are composed with lines of different lengths, the two middle ones are internally uniform. The whole poem is aimed, from the first, toward a last line of a single syllable that will end on the hardest of possible consonants. Formally, it’s elegant, yet the poem appears to be so simple as to seem “artless.” This is the point, really, where both Zen poetics & Objectivism come together – one could talk Greene’s writing in either terms & not be wrong.

I can imagine some poets & readers feeling impatient with this kind of writing – like, what is it doing that’s so terribly new? The answer of course is that this is exactly the wrong question. It is not only not posing that issue, it rather works from a perception of life that challenges all the underlying premises:

Living with animals,
we are always raising children,
caring for the old.

Jonathan Greene is an exacting craftsman who has never written a book I’ve seen that didn’t afford enormous pleasures – for which I’m always grateful.

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.]