new New comes after New quieted

Robert Creeley wrote the preface to Paul Blackburn’s Against the Silences. Creeley there counted Blackburn as among those who starting in the late 1940s had hopes for poetry and felt “the same anger at what we considered its slack misuses.” Thus Creeley implicitly interprets Blackburn’s title phrase: this is a new poetry written against the quietude (to use that apt Sillimanian phrase) that Creeley and Blackburn, among others, associated with poetics that we can now describe as between modernism and postmodernism. I especially like the dating of Creeley’s realization: the late 1940s. In the view of some, that would be a bit early. After all, the anthology that certified that there was a new American poetry to supercede the old-New was published in 1960.

In an email here is what Creeley once wrote me when I asked him about the scene in the late 40s and early 50s: “Everyone of my authenticity or political definition was laying low.” The use of “authenticity” here C. did not mean as boast; he meant those who shared his version of authenticity – which is to say, not the then-usual sincere.