[In advance of the forthcoming republication of ShakingthePumpkin by Station Hill Press of Barrytown I’m posting again the following selection which appeared, with accompanying commentaries, in a recent issue of PoetryInternational, San Diego State University, & as an excerpt on PoemsandPoetics. Additional excerpts from ShakingthePumpkin were posted earlier &morewillbepostedherebetweennow&theactualrepublication.]
In the aftermath of TechniciansoftheSacred (1968) the next step I took toward the construction of an experimental ethnopoetics was an assemblage of traditional works and commentaries thereon focused entirely on one of the world’s still surviving and incredibly diverse “deep cultures.” The resultant work, ShakingthePumpkin:TraditionalPoetryoftheIndianNorthAmericas, was published by Doubleday Anchor in 1972 and in revised versions by Alfred van der Marck Editions (1986) and the University of New Mexico Press (1991).
TheAndescrossingwaspartofmyreadingtripwithCeciliaVicuñathroughChile,Argentina,Uruguay,&Brazil.OurothercompanionswereDianeRothenberg,thephotographer&filmmakerFrancis(Frank)Cincotta,&ArianeBraillard.BesidesCincotta’sphotographs&films,theonlyrecordsofthecrossingaremyseriesofpoems(laterpublishedinRamDevineni’sRatapallax)&DianeRothenberg’songoingjournal, both excerpted below.
She died & from her breasts her newborn babe sucked life. Her sanctuary at the Inca’s lake still fills the flattened earth.
The two-sided collage shown here was in the possession of myself and Diane Rothenberg for something like a half-century before we sold it earlier this year with the intention of divesting ourselves of some of our accumulated art works and in this instance turning the proceeds toward the funding of a granddaughter’s college education. We had first met Jess and Robert Duncan in 1959 on what was also our first visit to fabled San Francisco. Before that Robert and I had begun a correspondence around the miniature magazine, PoemsfromtheFloatingWorld, that I was then editing, and when Lawrence Ferlinghetti and City Lights published my first book, NewYoungGermanPoets, a trip to the Bay Area became inevitable. That was in early summer, following a crosscountry car ride with friends and a bus trip up the coast from Los Angeles. We stayed in a small hotel on Geary Street and I rented a still smaller room nearby to use as a writing studio. On our third or fourth day there we went over to City Lights to meet with Ferlinghetti and ran into a photo shoot by Harry Redl that included Philip Lamantia along with Robert and Lawrence.