Commentaries - July 2012


A question of faith

K Rd
Plastic People / photograph: Jack Ross

Michele Leggott’s poem “shore space, ” from her 2009 book Mirabile Dictu, imagines 1930s New Zealand writer Robin Hyde taking a bus trip through Auckland’s North Shore, and running into various groups of local writers as she does so:

          she would be pleased
this spring afternoon above the bays
where gorse and mangroves present
a united front and choko vines run wild
she would be pleased to see Jack Ross
and friends rolling in with a box of books
and a sausage sizzle to do a fundraiser
for a poet who has run out of cornflakes
on the other side of the world   Robin Hyde
is living on baked beans and disprins
soon she will leave the places we can see
and walk the seaward road that glistens
with disappearances

It’s a pleasant pastoral vision of friends and collaborators falling over each other to help out, be supportive, advance the art of poetry in an atmosphere of mutual good will.

'Think for yourself with public mouth'

In honor of Anne Waldman & 'outrider' pedagogies
Anne Waldman, (image from

This is Week Four of the 2012 Summer Writing Program at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. I’ve participated in the incredible summer writing program as both student and teacher and perpetually struck by what a unique pedagogical model Anne Waldman continues to create there. I’m always thinking about this particular model of rotating themes and instructors during the regular academic year when I am writing and working with my own students.

In “Outrider: The Pedagogy,” Anne Waldman defines her concept of the outrider as stemming from “a need to define the lineage, pedagogy and view of a burgeoning poetics program that was increasingly seeing itself outside the official verse literati culture academic mainstream” (Outrider 39).  The Kerouac School (founded in 1974) is an accredited degree-granting institution, founded out of a desire to create a space for “non-competitive education…building a community of active readers and writers who carry the lineage in their genes” (Interview with Anne Waldman, 2007).

A round of Renshi & the poet as other: An experiment in poesis (part three)

[continued from previous postings, here & here]




The thirtieth and final poem of the renshi event fell to me asvisitorand gave me a chance to consider or reconsider the entire processthe experimental side of it at least, as a test of poetry under special circumstances. The moves up to then had been easy enough, a cool kind of writing that I didnt find at all displeasing, and a chance, as Robert Duncan had once put it,to exercise my faculties at large.On top of thatand not to be ignoredI was doing it out in the open and immersed in a language that I barely understood. It seemed to me too that Kaku, writing in the slot before me, had been pushing toward some kind of conclusion, to which I felt an affinity, but had to consider it, along with a specific request from Tanikawa, as an invitation to formulate my own coda here, a kind of capsule poetics as I conceived it.