Why start a series on ruptures and dissimilarity in poetic practice with Joanne Kyger, whose books of poetry seem to be very steady, a daily practice of poetry as journaling, a kind of non-narrative, time-specific work of being, a concern carefully announced by the titles of her books: Going On, Trip Out and Fall Back, On Time?
PoemTalk’s crew took to the road, wandering pretty much as far west as one can go on this continent, to a place Philip Whalen called, in a poem’s subtitle, “the last of California” — Bolinas, coastal spot famous as A congenial writer’s retreat. Stephen Ratcliffe, Joanne Kyger, and Julia Bloch gathered there with Al Filreis to talk about Whalen. Our poem was indeed written in Bolinas, in 1968, and finished in Kyoto in 1969. It’s called “Life at Bolinas: The Last of California.” Whalen’s PennSound page includes a recording of his performance of this poem.
“Only three years had passed,” Lewis Warsh writes of publishing the journal Angel Hair, “but it felt like many lifetimes.” By 1969, when the last issue of Angel Hair appeared, Warsh and Waldman had begun publishing books--mainly because many of their poet friends needed publishers for their book-length collections, but also because The World, a new magazine published by the Poetry Project, was covering much of the same ground as Angel Hair. “I also felt,” Warsh says, “that we had made our point in trying to define a poetry community without coastal boundaries--a community based on a feeling of connectedness that transcended small aesthetic differences, all the usual traps that contribute to a blinkered pony vision of the world.”
Angel Hair was born in the “backseat of a car [as we were] driving from Bennington to New York,” Warsh says in his introductory essay to the Angel Hair feature in Jacket. Waldman and Warsh were driving with Georges Guy, a French professor at Bennington, and once they'd made the decision to publish Angel Hair, Guy offered them his and Kenneth Koch's translation of Pierre Reverdy's poem, “Fires Smouldering Under Winter.” The Reverdy poem begins the first issue, and the line, “Could it be enough to speak a word in this abyss,” perfectly captures the gesture of launching a literary magazine.
On January 17, 2016, I met up with about 60 people at the Center for the Book in San Francisco to talk collaboratively about a poem by Joanne Kyger that goes by its first line, "When I used to focus on the worries." I had traveled with Zach Carduner and Chris Martin and they managed to bring along their recording equipment and have produced a video of high quality — notwithstanding the rather impromptu arrangement.
Julia Bloch, Stephen Ratcliffe, and Pattie McCarthy joined Al Filreis for a discussion of a poem by Joanne Kyger called “It’s Been a Long Time: Notes from the Revolution.” Readers can find the text of the poem in Kyger’s volume of selected poems, As Ever (2002). The poem was written in the early 1970s. PennSound’s recording of Kyger’s performance of the poem is an audio segment extracted from the video-and-audio recording made of the television show — the March 28, 1978, episode of Public Access Poetry.
PennSound podcast number 21 features a 17-minute excerpt from a one-hour-and-23-minute recording of a conversation among Greg Hewlett, Robert Creeley and Joanne Kyger in June of 1972. The whole discussion — and links to segments by topic — are available at PennSound’s Joanne Kyger page. Your host is Amaris Cuchanski. The other twenty PennSound podcasts are available here.
[»»] Introduction: by Alan Gilbert and Daron Mueller From the Introduction: The essays included in this Anne Waldman feature were selected from presentations given at a symposium honoring the University of Michigan Special Collections Library’s acquisition of Anne Waldman’s archive. Entitled “Makeup on Empty Space: A Celebration of Anne Waldman,” the symposium was held at the University of Michigan from March 13–15, 2002. It included over twenty poets, scholars, publishers, and artists participating in both panels and poetry readings. Andrei Codrescu’s “Who’s Afraid of Anne Waldman?” served as the keynote speech for the symposium. [»»] Maria Damon: Making the World Safe for Poetry (or, How Is Anne Waldman Different from Woodrow Wilson?) [»»] Rachel Blau DuPlessis: Anne Waldman: Standing Corporeally in One’s Time [»»] Alan Gilbert: Anne Waldman Changing the Frequency
In June of 1972, in Bolinas, California, Tom Clark and Joanne Kyger recorded a conversation. At one point Clark talked for five minutes or so about Kyger's writing and here is the audio recording of those remarks.