Al Filreis

1960, self-satisfaction and dread

I'm increasingly interested in the year 1960, and am toying with the idea of writing at length about it — the year generally (if such a thing is possible) and the year in American poetry & poetics more specifically. Certainly a turning-point year in the larger context, and probably in the latter somewhat more narrow context as well. Take a look at my 1960 blog.

I'm intrigued by the photo here. It's a shot of someone's father, a man named Phil — or "papa" according to the scant explanation I found randomly on someone's blog. The man's expression is, to me at least, completely ambivalent. It says self-satisfaction and it says major dread, both somehow. (Dread in the limit of the smile, the way the tie is tied or, rather, the posture of the neck, and in the way the left hand is tucked under the right in the pose.) The inscription on the back reads: Pop Je ne sais pas l’annee. The photo was taken February 1960, as marked.

invasion of the modernists

An excerpt from my new book. Here I'm describing the anticommunist antimodernist who believed that modernism was the abruption of the alien Other onto the scene of natural human order. I begin the passage with Gilbert Neiman--poet lately turned novelist--who hadn't read Poetry magazine in a few years when he decided to pick up a copy in 1949 and see what contemporary poetry was all about at that point.

I heart listservs

In the newish world of communication-over-a-distance, there are now a number of synchronous media. But for a number of reasons I prefer the asynchronous.

counter-revolution of the word

Here is a short description of my new book (a draft of the jacket copy):

Jack was language

"Time being of the essence in the purity of speech, sketching language is undisturbed flow from the mind of p