1960

On the rounendless talk of cut-ups

Bob Perelman's history

I've recently published a long essay on the poetry of Bob Perelman. It's called "The President of This Sentence." It's about the convergence in Perelman's writing of two parallel and also, at times, convergent analyses--one of modernism's rise and fall; the other of the state of Cold War at the point of giving way to New Left and countercultural skepticism. Here is a link to the whole essay, and here is the opening paragraph:

Reading by Charles Olson from the Maximus Poems

Newly Segmented Recording at PennSound

Charles Olson at a blackboardWe at PennSound are pleased to say that Charles Olson's reading from the Maximus poems at Beloit College has now been segmented. He read for 50 minutes total from many sections of the long work. Here is your link.

Introduction to a Symposium on Poetry in 1960

My introduction to the recent symposium on poetry in 1960. It begins with a look at a late late 1959 essay by Stanley Kunitz predicting that the 1960s will in poetry be a time of consolidation and not of experiment--that experiment was all exhausted, played out.

Cubism, the Word

Using the Google Books Ngram Viewer

cubism graphed on the Google Books Ngram Viewer
cubism graphed on the Google Books Ngram Viewer

According to Google Labs' fairly new "Books Ngam Viewer," which tracks usage of words and phrases in all the books Google has scanned dating from 1800 through 2000, the use of the word "Cubism" (and closely varients) peaked in 1960.

Handbook of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry

I have an essay in this forthcoming book, and am excited to keep such good company. I expect the book won't be out for another year. And I'm probably jumping the gun in posting the contents but I'll wait 'til someone tells me to take it down. You'll get the gist of what's in it, anyway. (Below at right: Cary Nelson.)

The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry

Edited by Cary Nelson

1. A Century of Innovation: American Poetry from 1900 to the Present
  Cary Nelson

2. Social Texts and Poetic Texts: Poetry and Cultural Studies
          Rachel Blau DuPlessis

3. American Indian Poetry at the Dawn of Modernism
          Robert Dale Parker

4. “Jeweled Bindings”: Modernist Women’s Poetry and the Limits of Sentimentality
          Melissa Girard

Cary Nelson5. Hired Men and Hired Women: Modern American Poetry and the Labor Problem
          John Marsh

6. Economics and Gender in Mina Loy, Lola Ridge, and Marianne Moore
          Linda A. Kinnahan

7. Poetry and Rhetoric: Modernism and Beyond
          Peter Nicholls

8. Cézanne’s Ideal of “Realization”: A Useful Analogy for the Spirit of Modernity in American Poetry
 Charles Altieri

9. Stepping Out, Sitting In: Modern Poetry’s Counterpoint with Jazz and the Blues
          Edward Brunner

10.  Out With the Crowd: Modern American Poets Speaking to Mass Culture
            Tim Newcomb

11.  Exquisite Corpse: Surrealist Influence on the American Poetry
           Scene, 1920-1960
            Susan Rosenbaum

12.  Material Concerns: Incidental Poetry, Popular Culture, and Ordinary Readers in Modern America
          Mike Chasar

13.  “With Ambush and Stratagem”: American Poetry in the Age of Pure War
            Philip Metres

14.  The Fight and the Fiddle in Twentieth-Century African American Poetry
           Karen Jackson Ford

15.  Asian American Poetry
           Josephine Park

16.  “The Pardon of Speech”: The Psychoanalysis of Modern American Poetry
            Walter Kalaidjian

17.  American Poetry, Prayer, and the News
           Jahan Ramazani

18.  The Tranquilized Fifties: Forms of Dissent in Postwar American Poetry
           Michael Thurston

19.  The End of the End of Poetic Ideology, 1960
           Al Filreis

20.  Fieldwork in New American Poetry: From Cosmology to Discourse
           Lytle Shaw

21.  “Do our chains offend you?”: The Poetry of American Political Prisoners
            Mark W. Van Wienen

22.  Disability Poetics
           Michael Davidson

23.  Green Reading: Modern and Contemporary American Poetry and Environmental Criticism
           Lynn Keller

24.  Transnationalism and Diaspora in American Poetry
           Timothy Yu

25.  “Internationally Known”: The Black Arts Movement and U.S. Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop
            James Smethurst

26.  Minding Machines / Machining Minds: Writing (at) the Human-Machine Interface
           Adalaide Morris

Poetry Mag "Versus" Beatniks

There isn't any conflict of interest between the universities and POETRY. Quote, unquote.

Back to geography (PoemTalk #34)

Charles Olson, 'Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 (withheld)'

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Bob Perelman, Rachel Blau DuPlessis and Charles Bernstein converged on Al’s office-studio to attempt what Al in his intro dubs a “daunting” task — to talk somehow about one of Charles Olson’s Maximus poems in such a way that would make the poem make sense and might serve as a good introduction to The Maximus Poems more generally. We don’t know if we succeeded but we certainly had fun trying. We chose a poem for which PennSound has two recordings, one made at the August 1963 Vancouver Poetry Festival and another made in Boston in 1962. As listeners will learn from episode 34 here, we also discovered that someone has made a YouTube video clip from a segment of the film about Olson, Polis Is This. In this segment, Olson reads the poem with what Rachel calls choreographic gestures, motions that continually point up the forward/backward, in-body/away planes or zones of geographic understanding. We happily add, below, a link to this remarkable but probably — most of us would agree — overdone performance.

The title of that film comes from the memorable final line of our poem, “Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 (withheld),” the last parenthetic term here referring to the fact that it was excluded from the first major collection of Maximus Poems, The Maximus Poems of 1960. Excluded but then apparently much in demand and/or much admired by Olson himself.

The poem, especially at the start (in which a family anecdote is told), seems personal and almost (in the term then popular) “confessional.” But, as the PoemTalkers put it, it soon begins to do the usual Maximus thing, engaging a vortexical historical method line by line, and gesturing hugely at the convergences of geography and culture across eras and the (at turns) triumphant and lamentable westwardness of everything.

Back to geography (PoemTalk #34)

Charles Olson, "Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 (withheld)"

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Bob Perelman, Rachel Blau DuPlessis and Charles Bernstein converged on Al's office-studio to attempt what Al in his intro dubs a "daunting" task - to talk somehow about one of Charles Olson's Maximus poems in such a way that would make the poem make sense and might serve as a good introduction to The Maximus Poems more generally. We don't know if we succeeded but we certainly had fun trying. We chose a poem for which PennSound has two recordings, one made at the August 1963 Vancouver Poetry Festival and another made in Boston in 1962. As listeners will learn from episode 34 here, we also discovered that someone has made a YouTube video clip from a segment of the film about Olson, Polis Is This. In this segment, Olson reads the poem with what Rachel calls choreographic gestures, motions that continually point up the forward/backward, in-body/away planes or zones of geographic understanding. We happily add, below, a link to this remarkable but probably--most of us would agree--overdone performance.

The title of that film comes from the memorable final line of our poem, "Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 (withheld)," the last parenthetic term here referring to the fact that it was excluded from the first major collection of Maximus Poems, The Maximus Poems of 1960. Excluded but then apparently much in demand and/or much admired by Olson himself.

The poem, especially at the start (in which a family anecdote is told), seems personal and almost (in the term then popular) "confessional." But, as the PoemTalkers put it, it soon begins to do the usual Maximus thing, engaging a vortexical historical method line by line, and gesturing hugely at the convergences of geography and culture across eras and the (at turns) triumphant and lamentable westwardness of everything.

Here is the text of the poem. Here is the PennSound recording of the poem from a reading given in Boston in 1962.

Our episode was edited as usual by Steve McLaughlin, and, as always, PoemTalk was produced and hosted by Al Filreis in collaboration with the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, the Kelly Writers House, and the Poetry Foundation.

we're in Betty Friedan country here

Dean of Penn's College for Women in 1960. Oh, the problems of separatism. Click here for more.

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