Twelve letters from Kenneth Irby to Edward Dorn


Kyle WaughWilliam J. Harris

Gathered here are twelve letters from Kenneth Irby to Edward Dorn, spanning roughly a decade, from January 1963 to February 1974. While this selection constitutes a small portion of only one side of the complete correspondence between the two poets — a correspondence they maintained until Dorn’s death in December 1999 — it is intended to provide a representative sample of Irby’s epistolary prosody, exuberance, and generosity. To get an immediate sense of these qualities, as well as the measure and nature of Irby’s investment in corresponding with Dorn, take the following two paragraphs from Irby’s letter of late May 1997, the month Dorn was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer and given three months to live:

… & I’ve been going back over all the years and connections we’ve had since I first met you, that NYrsEve of 1960 in Santa Fe, the Army guys and me coming to see you on Camino Sin Nombre — down to the afternoon at your place last Jun in Denver — back and forth across the continent, and still on-going —

I just want to say — as a kind of declaration, an affirmation — how much you have meant to me and go on being, person, work, all the infinite inter-essences and resonances beyond articulation, but felt — I won’t belabor this, but there is no one whose moral integrity & intelligence I respect more, and no one, not Olson, not any other person, who has more revealed and made available the complex of the land of birth and upbringing­, this shaggy centrum, than have you — little capable as I have been as an attender, no matter — you, in all this, magister, believe me — and thanks, man! all the kindnesses, the edges, the demands, the compassions — there are times when such things have to be said, and reaffirmed, and to fare forward with — ever onward —

Ever onward indeed: Dorn fought his “environmentally / Induced and politically generated” tumor for another two and a half years. In April 1999, a few days after his seventieth birthday, he sent Irby a short letter on stationary from Santa Fe’s famous La Fonda hotel, at the top of which is printed the phrase: “The Inn at the End of the Santa Fe Trail”:

We are travelling these parts mainly because my health has improved enough to allow it — gaining ten pounds of flesh and generally more focused energy. It is bitterly cold — even the wooden Indians are beginning to shake & fret.  My chemo day Taxol, is on Monday but that will be cool with the oncologist when I phone him in the moanin’. John and Marina, Jenny’s Bro in Law & Blood Sister are fellow passengers — Ken, I heard you got a job. If correct that sounds so good. I’m retired and on my own 1st time since 1960.

I’m working faster & better than in years. It’s exciting to have the continuity of expression even if in or with a 70 yr old brain to work with.I know how much it means to you to have your situation stabilized. Congratulations —

On New Year’s Eve 1960 Irby was twenty-four, seven years younger than Dorn, whose number he’d found in the Santa Fe phonebook after discovering his whereabouts in the back pages of Donald Allen’s anthology The New American Poetry, published in May of that year. Having been drafted into the army that summer, after he’d completed a master’s degree in Far Eastern studies at Harvard, Irby was stationed in Albuquerque, about an hour’s drive from the state capital. In an untitled, unpublished prose piece, Dorn describes the “cryptoliberalism” and “stockbroker bohemism” that characterized the “terminal circumstance” of Santa Fe around the time he first met Irby:

New Mexico, 1959, was teeming with the investment of that primitive wage-slave hope of total destruction through Rockets & Bombs, a development spinning out of the Eisenhower funk-period. […] My address in Santa Fe at this time was Camino Sin Nombre (like gazing at the backside of a tautology) and directly below me the creator of Mat Helm had two cheap but effective spotlights trained on my whole front yard. Free light, all night. Bounding hounds. 4-wheel-drive Vehicles. Very off-base anthropod census-takers. Weird pre-freak cunt-oriented vintage chicks loaded down with silver and turquoise, maybe into something like childrens books. Everything generally off to the side in this situation. Really specific Generals completely outa town, in the hills. […]

It was into this radically unpromising unus mundus that Kenneth Irby drove disguised as a contemporary serviceman but secretly the manager of a team of proto-zen archers (mostly Kentuckians) then stationed with nearly complete indifference (short of perfection like a vacuum) at Sandia Airforce Base. As anyone who has cried Help! can believe, I was delighted to see him. Hearing him was another matter. Between the overwhelming yelping of his hounds gradually I became aware that he was shifting this cargo over the chinese border using a bill of lading in greek. That was probably a courtesy, I’ve since concluded. Then he would fall asleep. Heavy sleep. But not me. If you lived in Santa Fay you didn’t go to sleep. Not on Camino Sin Nombre. Wild totalities in the name of that road. Earth, Night, Rivers, Sleep, Strife, Victory, and so on. I was the guard of something or other there. I don’t yet know what. But it was a yeasty time.[1]

Here we find evidence of “the kindnesses, the edges, the demands, the compassions” to which Irbys above letter refers, and although Dorn remains a silent addressee in the following selection, these qualities, at least, reverberate in the enthusiastic abundance of Irby’s letters.

This selection picks up with Irby in January 1963, roughly five months after he completed his two-year draft duty in the army, and five months before he dropped out of his Harvard PhD program. “The point is,” he wrote to Dorn in mid-January 1963, “my increasing commitment to writing, that Harvard, nor any such place, can’t foster (or prevent). Clearly. But the commitment is there, for better or worse. I’ve got so fucking much to learn.” Having thus committed himself to the life of a writer, whatever that might mean, Irby left Cambridge in June, just as he had four years before, and headed for Albuquerque, stopping off briefly in his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas. Subsequently, these letters track (with admittedly large gaps) Irby’s path from Albuquerque to San Francisco in 1964, to Berkeley in early 1965, where he lived until 1971, at which point he made another transcontinental move, returning to Boston, this time to teach at Tufts University, until 1973, when he relocated to Copenhagen, Denmark, for a one-year visiting professorship and a few months of traveling mainland Europe on a Fulbright grant. Dorn, meanwhile, led an even more peripatetic life, moving with his family from Pocatello, Idaho, in 1965, to Colchester, England, where he’d been hired on a Fulbright grant to teach in Donald Davie’s newly minted literature department at the University of Essex. In the late summer of 1968, recently divorced, Dorn returned to the States with his new partner, Jennifer Dunbar, whom he married the following year. Between 1968 and early 1974, where this selection ends, Dorn and Dunbar lived all over the US and beyond: in Taos, Lawrence, Chicago, Kent, West Newbury, Riverside, Rollinsville, San Francisco, Vancouver, Colchester: the list goes on.

By 1974, having published seven books over the previous decade, Irby was preparing an expanded edition of To Max Douglas, for which he asked Dorn, in the final letter included here (“12 Feb 74”), to contribute a short preface (Dorn agreed). The following year, Dorn’s own meta-Western mock-epic Gunslinger — all five books of it (including its “interlude” book, The Cycle) — was published by Wingbow Press, ending a seven-year phase in his career that began in England amid the uproar of 1968, and which, likely more than any other period, secured a dedicated readership for his work.

Irby’s correspondence with Dorn offers an impressive bibliographical counterpart to his recently published collected poems, The Intent On (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2009), and because he shares a deep and abiding interest in geography, as well as a debt to Charles Olson (Dorn’s teacher at Black Mountain), these letters are particularly rich with references to landscape-related literature, to the writings of cultural geographer Carl Sauer, or historian James Malin (whose work Dorn and Irby discussed coediting a selection of, for Frontier Press, in the late ’60s), or to the journal accounts of arduous expeditions — e.g., Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, Jedediah Smith, and John Wesley Powell — or to an array of writers from the sixteenth century, the first period of European exploration in the New World, the period of wanderers like Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and Francis Drake, and mystics like Jakob Böhme and John (“Dr.”) Dee. But it’s not only books on these topics that Irby discusses: he explores a variety of ways of getting to know the earth’s potencies, such as when he provides, in the postscript to a late October letter from San Francisco, the mailing address for a San Antonio cactus farm, from which one could order a hundred peyote buttons for $11. Still, perhaps the most evocative and compelling aspect of these letters is their depiction of the vicissitudes of Irby’s experience as young artist: his struggle to extricate himself from his academic confinement in the “one vast city of the east coast,” intermittently fleeing Cambridge on the weekends to visit LeRoi Jones or Paul Blackburn in New York City, or Olson (twice) in Gloucester, and subsisting on epistolary encouragement from Dorn and Robert Creeley, among others, to follow his writerly inclinations; or the rich delight he takes living in San Francisco or Berkeley, where he found a welcoming community of friends and fellow artists, and, despite “the tracts billboards freeways & waste dumpage,” could relish the lush atmosphere of California, “land of magnificent vistas & formations like none on earth,” he writes in one letter, and where his work as a poet really began to thrive. “Yeasty” is, for both writers, an apt description of the decade that this selection covers.

Note on the text

In a short memoir/essay included in this feature, Andrew Schelling describes what a typical letter from Irby might look like:

Typically his full letters would go a couple of tight single-space typewritten pages (in the very small font-size his typewriter had), then as he broke off to sign the letter he would add marginal notes, then long looping addenda that wound around the pages; then he’d begin to write where the typewriter left off, and another page or two of his compact handwritten words would come.

Incapable of reproducing the shape of their originals, the following transcriptions necessarily lack one of the most beautiful features of Irby’s letters: their near illegibility. The effect is due less to Irby’s handwriting than to his habit (as Schelling notes) of filling every square iota of the page’s surface with it — blocks of text running in multiple directions, a vortification of the page. Aside from the physical appearance of these transcriptions, then, the general formatting and stylistic features of the originals have been reproduced as accurately as possible. Irby’s dropdown indentations for new paragraphs, for example, his substitution of the em dash for various marks and functions of punctuation, and his characteristically expressive compound word-formations (e.g., “howsomever,” “hodgepodged,” “yesiree,” “hardnesses,” “outloud,” “buildingup,” “headon,” “wot the hell,” “fur shure,” “it not only thunderstormed, […] it hailed abt hensegg size”), as well as his Blk Mntn shorthand (e.g., “yr,” “cd,” “wd,” “abt,” etc.), have all been retained. And Irby’s characteristic practice of underlining text for emphasis has also been preserved, both for the sake of verisimilitude and for maintaining a clear distinction between authorial and editorial formatting gestures (i.e. underlining vs. italicizing; see below).

For the sake of readability, some of Irby’s marginalia, “looping addenda,” and minor handwritten revisions have been moved from their original positions but all significant modifications that these transcriptions have made to the manuscript or typescript originals are detailed in the endnotes. Italics indicate any handwritten changes or additions to the letter — e.g., continuations in the margin, side-notes and footnotes, caret inserts, etc. With a few exceptions (e.g., the three-tiered wordplay in the first paragraph of Irby’s “12 May 72” letter), this material appears either at the end of the main body of the letter, or is provided in the endnotes, which offer a wide variety of contextual information, from the names of lesser-known writers and literary magazines, to relevant historical events, like the Delano Grape Strike. For further biographical context, including the years of publication for Irby’s major books, see the “Chronology” elsewhere in this feature. Likewise, for a brief discussion of the barn star symbol that accompanies Irby’s signature in letters beginning around 1965, see Denise Low’s essay.

Irby enclosed drafts of poems with a number of the following letters, and with the exception of those that have been collected in The Intent On, all of these poems are reproduced in this feature. Two of these poems however — “KANSAS FLOWERS” (“26 Dec 1965”), and “KANSAS IS THE HOME OF PROHIBITION” (“12 Sep 1963”) — which originally occur, handwritten, in the flow of the main text of their respective letters, have been reproduced as such here. The other poems appear in the unpublished/uncollected poems section of this feature, and information about their epistolary origins can be found in that section’s prefatory note. Lastly, the ellipses enclosed in square brackets indicate places where text has been removed, either at the request of the author, or out of respect for the privacy of other people. These ellipses appear in brackets so as not to be confused with ellipses in the original.

With the exception of the two letters quoted at length in this introduction — both of which come from Irby’s personal archives — the originals of all of the following letters are housed with Dorn’s papers in one of two special collections libraries: the first five letters included here appear courtesy of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries; and the remaining seven letters appear courtesy of the Department of Archival and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut. Specific citation information for each letter can be found in the endnotes. — Kyle Waugh



1. Original manuscript, To Max Douglas introduction, 1974 folder 453, Edward Dorn papers, Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Russian poetic counterpublics


Kevin M. F. Platt

As we all know, poets can be difficult.

Some use difficult and challenging language. Others write about difficult topics. The writing of some may not correspond to common expectations among readers. Some are simply ornery. For a poet writing in English for American audiences, or a Russian writing for Russian audiences, being difficult might result in a more modestly scaled audience and publication in small journals and small presses — circumscribed circulation in poetic counterpublics. Yet when it comes to translations from one language to another, the consequence of difficulty often is simply neglect.

Translation (which in any case accounts for a tiny portion of poetry published in the US) depends on the tastes and knowledge of the small community of adepts possessed of the necessary linguistic skills, time, passion, and purpose. In the case of Russian poetry over the course of the twentieth century, the situation was rendered more challenging by constraints on access to underground, unpublished, or self-published poetry (samizdat, as it was called), and by Cold War literary politics that dictated which poets were worthy of translation. To reach an Anglophone audience, Russian poetry had to pass through a complex system of filters, baffles, valves, and grates — crossing not only linguistic barriers, but also material, social, and ideological ones. Of course, the same may be said of any act of translation. My point is that these conditions were intensified to an extreme in the case of Russian poetry for much of the twentieth century. Russian poetic counterpublics were rendered remote, unknown enclaves of writing.

Fortunately, since the end of the Cold War, the situation is improving. This is not only the result of the vanishing of Soviet state controls on publishing and the ebbing of Cold War mentalities; it is also the result of the appearance of new generations of translators. The authors of the essays and translations offered here are part of a new wave of scholars, poets, and translators whose professional activity bridges Russian and American literary contexts in ways that would have been nearly impossible twenty-five years ago. Polina Barskova, born in St. Petersburg, is a Russian poet and American scholar of Russian writing who teaches at Hampshire College. Eugene Ostashevsky, born in Leningrad and raised in New York, is an American poet and scholar who teaches at NYU. Stephanie Sandler and Kevin M. F. Platt, US-born scholars of Russian literature, have both spent considerable amounts of time in the company of the poets they translate and discuss here.

In short, the translation projects represented here have been made possible by a high degree of close, lived contact — contact that circumvents and short-circuits that older system of baffles and filters (while, perhaps, instituting new ones). This is translation as a form of intimacy. The result, a small sampling of which is included in the essays and translations published here, is a new injection of the writings of difficult (not necessarily ornery) Russian poets into the American scene, and a glimpse into formerly remote Russian poetic counterpublics.

'Reasons for singing': On John Taggart


Matthew Cooperman

The vision seeks the man — Zora Neale Hurston

I first encountered John Taggart’s work while living in Boulder, Colorado, circa 1990.[1] A now long-vanished indie bookstore, the Aion, which had a remarkably rich poetry collection (oh, for the era of real booksellers!), actually called me to say they had a few books I might like. There, alongside some vintage Black Sparrow and New Directions, I picked up this very strange-looking book called The Pyramid Is a Pure Crystal. Immersed as I was — a graduate student in English at CU working with Ed Dorn, among others — my tastes ran more to the external,[2] or to the occasional/political performance of something like protest. The first Bush war was on, and Taggart’s quiescence and mathematical exactitude were a bit lost on me, though the elegance of both the design and the procedures of the book were obvious. I admired the distinct hand presence in the boxed word sets, the exactitude with which they seemed to offer some mysterious master theorem. But the book got put away. Some years later I came to a more complex understanding of the postwar inheritances of American poetry and so to the necessity of John Taggart’s poetry. One book specifically, Peace on Earth, awoke a new stream in my listening. My largely unaccomplished musical ambitions (saxophone) still simmering, it was the abiding presence of John Coltrane in the poems, and the extended measure of their circular breathing:

To want to be a saint to want to be a saint to want to

to want to be a saint to be the snail-tailed one to want to

be snake-tailed with wings to be a snake-tailed saint with wings to

want to be a saint to want to awaken men wake men from nightmare[3]

Neither a description of someone playing an instrument nor an impression of jazz epiphany, the poem “Giant Steps” infinitivizes desire into a kind of physical awakening. Later, in the title poem, we get “To love to love those to love those who / are in to love those who are in a condition / in a condition / of hiding”; and “Care opens the face / untwists the face” (19). Love, it turns out, is a stance toward humanity, in this case, humanity imperiled during the Vietnam War. How to “carry torches, carry each other?” Literally, through an echoic circle of repetitions, recursions, and accretions, my aural senses seemed to become plural, and time stretched. Choral witness? What was this ghost figure circling in my ear, page to page? How did these poems move laterally across many pages without stalling out, losing (or benumbing) the echo, or grasping too easily after closure? And, perhaps more importantly, how could this poem make me feel simultaneously ecstatic and outraged? In short, how could an essentially lyric framework sing to such a profoundly political purpose? Lyric and ethics, and a breathtaking clarity. I was hooked; from this midcareer landmark I found myself reading backward to the early work and forward to whatever next book emerged.

As I’ve come to understand there is something continuous in the work of John Taggart. Thinking on and through, thinking with, “a case = relation.”[4] Lines as artifactual actions notating culture, history, and faith as a recirculatory figure centered on/experienced by a first person, but the person changes; how, as Creeley says, “the local is not a place but a place in a given man — what part of it he has been compelled or else brought by love to give witness to in his own mind. And that is THE form, that is, the whole thing, as whole as it gets.”[5] John Taggart’s whole thing seems uncannily of a piece, compelled by a various love to bear witness in decidedly formal and urgent poems. Distinctive, looping repetitions, phrasal accretions, often hinged on infinitive verb constructions, hovering, open field pages, incantatory crescendos and releases more akin to musical composition than poetry — all oddly about something, you hear a Taggart poem when you see one. “The vision seeks the man.” Behind this is the physical earth on which Taggart has plotted his course. It is as much a plat as an open book; increasingly, it is his home place in rural Pennsylvania, which is to say there is “a there there” to the ground on which Taggart tests his sincerity and, as such, makes his practice a unique example of field poetics. Something specific of late twentieth-century historicity, something actual in the climes in which it is experienced. The page aligns with the place, bears increasing traces. Not surprisingly, there is also a great variety of subjects, places in the given man.

More specifically, John Taggart’s sincerity-in-sound-structure manifests as four largely continuous attentions: a significant body of work written on/from/about art, music, and literature — Bradford Graves, Edward Meatyard, Edward Hopper, Edward Weston, Mark Rothko; Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, Steve Reich, Sainte-Colombe, Olivier Messiaen; Marianne Moore, Louis Zukofsky, Thomas Bertram, Lorine Niedecker, Henry David Thoreau, etc.; some of the most distinguished long poems of the postwar period — “The Rothko Chapel Poem,” “Peace on Earth,” Pyramid, Dodeka, When the Saints, “Unveiling/Marianne Moore,” etc.; a poetry deeply attuned to matters of the divine ecumenically construed; and a particularly distinctive musical style that proliferates and permutates through serial composition. These four aspects have been a constant since his first book in 1969. Yet it has also been observed (Peter O’Leary)[6] that his poems have evolved across three distinct formal shifts. We might group the books thusly: the highly structural and mathematical To Construct a Clock, The Pyramid Is a Pure Crystal, and Dodeka; the looser and more compulsively repetitious wave forms of Peace on Earth, Loop, Standing Wave; and the more improvisational/discrete-but-also-personally-intimate collections of the 2000s, When the Saints, Pastorelles, and There Are Birds. There are other books before and within these evolutions, but the structural fingerprints of these stylistic formations inheres. Yet across these evolutions there is a constant attention to the incremental song, or what Taggart himself has called “songs of degrees,” the title of his excellent book of essays,[7] and a pun on two of Taggart’s poetic wellsprings: Zukofsky, specifically his volume Some Time (1956); and the Psalms (Songs of Degrees, 120–134). In this manner thinking and singing are inextricably bound up for John Taggart with reading and listening, a reading and listening that for the last forty years has charted a distinct course in postwar American poetry.

With the publication of Is Music: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon 2011), we have the first substantial retrospective of his career: “change over time a long time like / all of your lifetime” (There Are Birds, 53). What emerges is something of a paradox, Berlin’s hedgehog and fox: a dogged commitment to a procedural methodology of reading and writing that is defined but increasingly open, and an expansive range of subjects, conversants, and texts that is also defined but increasingly open. What emerges as well is a turn in the sense of the frame — the look back at the thirteen previous books of poems — which reveals an evolution that is perhaps less Objectivist than previously thought, and more profoundly musical and devotional. Perhaps more profoundly “green,” as well, a green that is local and material — immanence as local time — that operates increasingly by metonymic associations that trope the garden in western literature. A process of thinking and singing, to be sure, and a kind of contract with a particular reader who might participate in the unfolding of the poem in the act of reading, a contract that poet Thom Donovan says “shares the burden of a single intention conflating ‘author’ and ‘reader,’ ‘composer’ and ‘performer,’ ‘score’ and ‘instrument.’”[8] Taggart’s work demands our attention for its commitment to poetry as a means of finding things out; there’s sustained wisdom in poems, and a practical ethics: “the tree the she / what’s the aim what’s the to be departed from / to come further/far into the woods further / far into memory // to a body / to an intense face” (There Are Birds, 50). Importantly this face viewing the reader is also a request to read and listen to the poem aloud:

There can be no doubt. The question is how to the poem is to be returned to enacted speech as a first consideration in composition and as a final, radical reality. How is the poem to be the voice’s enactment of language, one interior calling out to another, so there may be presence and community. (Songs of Degrees, 76)

Fortunately, we have two recent performances of John reading: the entire “The Rothko Chapel Poem” at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, thanks to Michelle Ashton and Ashley Clemmer Hoffman; and John reading large portions of There Are Birds at the University of Texas, thanks to Matt Valentine. Is Music, the nominative subject of poetry; is music, the sound of the human voice; is music, the present tense of poetry.

This feature originated in my correspondence with John Taggart, soliciting poems for Colorado Review, for which I am a poetry editor.[9] In the exchange John also sent the essay, here included, “Some Notes on Singing and Thinking.” So taken was I with this piece, and with a recent reading of Is Music, that I felt some obligation to gather materials, find a good home. What you will discover here is a variety of writings on/to/for/from poets and critics for whom Taggart’s work is necessary. More particularly, the feature includes John’s essay, and a poem by John, and essays, appreciations, poems, and reflections across the full range of Taggart’s career. I’ve organized the materials loosely along the path of publication. Peter O’Leary provides a trenchant frame from which to see Taggart’s compulsive repetitions. Karl Young, publisher of the early Dodeka and Dehiscence, ruminates on Taggart’s play with memory as “shadow music,” and Mark Scroggins revises a take on the looping remixes of not only Taggart, but the Talking Heads, Minimalism, and the labyrinthine mode of literature. Joseph Donahue continues in the labyrinth to explore the ritualized action of “The Rothko Chapel Poem’s” matrimonial, a drama nicely embodied by the recent recording. Patrick Pritchett sources the jazz-tinged river of Taggart’s poems to a radically messianic imperative. Later looks take up Pastorelles (Matthew Cooperman, against Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s Green and Gray) and There Are Birds (Marjorie Welish’s visual condensations on “Grey Scale/Zukofsky,” and Robert Bertholf’s paratextual expansions on “Unveiling/Marianne Moore”) suggesting an evolution away from a sustained and uniform repetition and toward a more incremental and discrete measure. Pam Rehm offers a vivid portrait of John’s legendary correspondence, and Joel Chace’s photography shows what these letters look like. And there’s a remarkable letter from John to Ronald Johnson serving up some shared affinities. Interspersed are poetic assays by Stephen Ratcliffe, Eléna Rivera, Jon Thompson, and Brad Vogler, which show moving evidence of Taggart’s measure, as well as its possibilities for collaborative composition (“Seeds Sown for John Taggart”). Be sure to link over to PennSound for the recent recordings of John, reading at the Rothko Chapel in Houston and at the Joynes Reading Room of University of Texas in Austin. To underline the obvious, to stress the plural, there are reasons for singing on/in/for John Taggart.



1. Epigraph from John Taggart, Standing Wave (Providence, RI: Lost Roads Press, 1993): “it is a poem about singing about reasons for singing / reasons one of the reasons for singing / the reason was to light the most quiet light /the reason was to light the light that was radiantia / radiantia that was a singing light in darkness.”

2. Ed Dorn, “On the Authority of Root Meanings, the External, and the Making of Gunslinger, circa 1967,” in Ed Dorn Live: Lectures, Interviews, and Outtakes, ed. Joe Richey (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007). In this provocative essay, Dorn recalibrates etymological source toward the environment: “Linguistic surroundings can prompt redefinition on the spur of the moment, according to one’s feel for the galaxies of words. They point forward very often, these definitions within the poem. Certain words signal the deepest sense a word possesses, because its meaning is created in the environment and, in that sense, is way beyond, and more vital to the word than, the dictionary” (8).

3. Taggart, Peace on Earth (Berkeley: Turtle Island Foundation, 1981), 15.

4. Taggart, There Are Birds (Chicago: Flood Editions, 2008), 49.

5. Robert Creeley, “A Note on the Local,” in The Collected Essays of Robert Creeley (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 479.

6. Peter O’Leary, “the poem is a song an act a work of love: Taggart and repetition,” in this feature.

7. Taggart, Songs of Degrees: Essays on Contemporary Poetry and Poetics (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1994); Louis Zukofsky, Some Time, noted in Anew: Complete Shorter Poetry (New York: New Directions, 2011).

8. Thom Donovan, “What We Do When We Believe,” Little Red Leaves no. 4, 2008.

9. “Rua Do Pardieiro/Monsanto,” Colorado Review 39, no. 3 (Fall/Winter 2012): 171.