Robert Grenier

'The Genealogy of Robert Grenier’s Drawing Poems' by Albert Gelpi

Imprint vol. 23 no. 1 (Fall 2004)
Published by The Associates of the Stanford University Libraries
republished with permission from the author and Stanford


Robert Grenier, CAMBRIDGE, M'ASS (reissue)

Convolution has just reissued this great 1979 poster, that should have won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and gotten Grenier a MacArthur too.  But it didn't work out that way. Robert Grenier’s poster-poem-map, originally printed by Lyn Hejinian’s Tuumba Press in 1979. 500 copies. 40”x 49”. Comes rolled in a tube. A steal at $30. It is ready to ship. Don't miss it this time around. Order here.

A note on the visual poetry of Whalen, Grenier, and Lazer

Left to right: image courtesy of Wesleyan University Press, from 'The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen,' edited by Michael Rothenberg, 2007; image courtesy of Bob Grenier; image courtesy of Hank Lazer.

From the beginning of my writing, I have been concerned with (floored by) the fact of a word, or a letter, as a thing, a physical, elemental, thing — and the act of contemplating such a thing. In the late ’60s, I noticed the poems of Aram Saroyan — one word, say, “crickets” — printed repeatedly in a single column, in Courier type, down the page. My first works were less poems or writing per se about something than memorials to the fact of words, that they appear and seem to signify.

Some links to Grenier's 'Sentences'

Robert Grenier’s Sentences (1978, complete text) from Whale Cloth Press. In 2003, twenty-five years after its publication of the original edition of 500 boxed 5" x 8" index cards, Whale Cloth Press made available a web-based version of this crucial work. Before viewing the web version, please read the note on the web version of this poem.

Robert Grenier opening, Brooklyn, May 19, 2013

Robert Grenier, "Language Objects: Letters in Space, 1970 - 2013" at Southfirst Gallery, Brooklyn

Robert Grenier, #2 from Four Poems / February 2004 (MOON/IT'S/THE/RE).
Giclée print on Photo Rag Paper, 23 3/8" x 17 1/2" ed. 1/10

May 18 – June 30, 2013
Reception for (& presentation by) the artist, Sunday, 19 May 4 - 6 PM

Book-length broadside

Bob Grenier's 'CAMBRIDGE M'ASS'

Photograph by Geof Huth.

Breadcrumbs would violate library rules, so I tore up notebook paper to leave my trail. I was in the Poetry Collection in the library of the University at Buffalo reading CAMBRIDGE M’ASS, a book-length poetry broadside, 49 by 40 ¾ inches, with about 275 poems by Robert Grenier scattered across it.[1]

Twenty-six boxes containing Grenier's 'Sentences' discovered

Whale Cloth Press recently announced the discovery (in a storage unit in Massachusetts) of a cache of 26 forgotten/‘extra’ copies from the original (1978) printing of Robert Grenier’s legendary work Sentences.

Sentences (500 poems centered on 500 5 x 8” index cards contained in a blue, folding, Chinese cloth box) was published in an edition of only 200 copies — all of which were distributed at the time of issuance, so that (though the text is often referenced in scholarly accounts of Grenier’s work & the history of Language Writing generally) the “thing itself’ has been out of print and unavailable for more than 30 years.

These 26 copies, newly lettered A-Z and signed by the author (in their original blue Chinese boxes), are in very good condition and are for sale to libraries and collectors for $1,000 (with the proceeds going to the author).  If you are interested in buying a box of Sentences, contact the publisher, Michael Waltuch, at waltuchm [at sign]

Robert Grenier

The ghostly presence of New England

Back in mid-March 2010, I traveled to Manhattan and met Charles Bernstein and Robert Grenier at the East Side apartment of Michael Waltuch, Grenier's old friend and collaborator. We recorded part 2 of what is now a long 2-part interview with Grenier about his early years. Part 1 focused on 1959-64, with a bit of a look back to Grenier's high-school years just before that period. Part 2 goes back a bit into the early 60s but then moves forward, covering 1965 to the early and mid 1970s. If last time the central topic was Harvard, this time the central topic, as it emerged, was New England: New England in the specific biographical sense (Bob G.'s wanderings there, especially on trips shooting outward from Harvard) but also in the meta-geographical sense--New England as a haunt, a crucial (it would seem now, in Grenier's way of thinking) ghostly presence in his thinking and in his writerly development.

We are pleased to release this second interview through PennSound - available, along with part 1 and many other Grenier recordings, on PennSound's Robert Grenier author page. It's a long recording (2 hours and 11 minutes) but I hope you'll find listening to it rewarding.

25 minutes talking about sentences

Today we are releasing episode 31 of the PoemTalk series. This one is a discussion of Robert Grenier's Sentences. Jena Osman, Bob Perelman and Joseph Yearous-Algozin joined me. I can't remember a more challenging project: to talk about this box of 500 poem-cards in 25 minutes?

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