It’s good to see Jacket2 continuing to focus on the poetry of Barbara Guest, a forceful writer of uncompromisingly modern tastes. I am pleased to say that at a reading for Carl Rakosi in San Francisco some years ago (where Carl read his short poem “The Laboratory Rat”) I was able to meet Barbara Guest. I mentioned that Allen Ginsberg once lived on the same street as she did, in Berkeley, at the time he wrote “A Supermarket in California”. “Well, it’s a very long avenue,” she replied sweetly. “I think Allen lived somewhere on the downtown end.”
A magnificent Douglas Dunn and dancers performance Friday night, first of several this weekend in New York. Sets and costumes by Mimi Gross. Photos by Jacob Burckhardt (except Mimi Gross photo above, which is by Charles Bernstein). Last peformance today.
Jacket 14 carries an article by Brian Kim Stefans on the British poet Veronica Forrest-Thomson. (You can read it here.)
I had been excited by her first critical book, and had been waiting for decades to find someone as smart as Brian to introduce her to a wider public. His piece begins:
One of the misfortunes of the lack of attention being paid to English poetry of this century is the obscurity of Veronica Forrest-Thomson, a poet who died in 1975 at the age of 27. Forrest-Thomson is the author of Poetic Artifice, a book that outlined a theory of poetry from a critical perspective — i.e. a tool to determine the success or failure of a poem rather then merely a vocabulary for describing the phenomenon of a “poem” — but one which, rather than confirming or resisting a “tradition,” concentrated on those elements of the poem that resist quick interpretation or, in her terms, “naturalization” by the reader or critic.