EDITOR’S NOTE. The following was Jeffrey Robinson’s contribution to the recent Poetry & Revolution conference at Birkbeck College of the University of London. As with other of Robinson’s recent writings, it presents an ongoingly radical view of Romanticism in the spirit of PoemsfortheMillennium, volmue 3, which he and I constructed in the first decade of the current millennium. For my part, the collaboration with Robinson opened me to areas of poetry that had long been hidden from me and honed my own practice in ways that had only been latent until then. If I wrote ABookofConcealments in the process – & I did – the sense of “Romantic Dadas” that appears there was also part of our work in common, for which I remain forever grateful. (J.R.)
The sky is overcast, The stars are darkened, The celestial expanses quiver, The bones of the earth-gods tremble, The planets are stilled, For they have seen the King appearing in power As a god who lives on his fathers And feeds on his mothers; The King is a master of wisdom Whose mother knows not his name. The glory of the King is in the sky, His power is in the horizon Like his father Atum who begot him.
[EDITOR’S NOTE. The following are a reminder of the pivotal role played by Alison Knowles in what can be described in retrospect as the Fluxus revolution of the 1960s. With their deceptively simple surface Knowles’s performance works exemplified the thrust of many artists, poets & performers to build on what Allan Kaprow & John Cage spoke of as an erasure of the boundaries between art & life.
[In a previous posting on Poems & Poetics I followed Susan Howe’s lead in calling attention to the effort by George Quasha & myself – in America a Prophecy (1973) – to create a new form of anthology, not so much a ranking of notable American poets as a juxtaposition of disparate, often incongruous voices, putting collage or assemblage at the service of a new omnipoetics, “from pre-Columbian times to the present.” While that much was clear to some at the time of first publication, to others – like Helen Vendler in a characteristically obtuse review of the book – the point of the work was clearly beyond their tolerance or comprehension. What appears here, then, are the four opening poems from America a Prophecy, brought together as a foretelling of the total work to follow. That work, after a long hiatus, is newly re-available through Quasha’s Station Hill Press – a limited printing but enough to get the book back into circulation. ]