In my rotting place (PoemTalk #162)

Tuli Kupferberg, 'Morning, Morning' and 'No Deposit, No Return'


This episode presents a remarkable — freewheeling, energetic, yet comprehensive — discussion of a remarkable artist, Tuli Kupferberg. It is our first in-person recording in quite a while. Charles Bernstein, Rachel Levitsky, Lee Ann Brown, Pierre Joris, and Al Filreis gathered at the Brooklyn home of Susan Bee and Charles. We considered two works by Tuli: “Morning, Morning,” among the most famous songs performed by The Fugs; and one of Tuli’s spoken-word pieces or “pop poems,” titled “No Deposit, No Return.” The latter is the title cut on an album produced and released in 1966. The album was subtitled “An Evening of Pop Poetry with Tuli Kupferberg.” “Morning, Morning” first appeared as a track on the album entitled The Fugs in March 1966. This song and the entire album, along with liner notes, are available on our Tuli Kupferberg page at PennSound, reproduced with the kind permission of Samara Kupferberg.

The conversation ranged widely, covering Tuli’s various debts to the poetic tradition; his under-recognized influence on avant-garde poetry today; his connections to European modernism and twentieth-century politics (depression, war, postwar); his role in 1960s culture. Yet the discussion kept returning to the central idea of 1966 (or “1968,” as the moment has come to be known). Charles argues at one point that 1968 in fact began, with Tuli’s help, in 1960. 

Zach Carduner traveled from Philadelphia to set up the recording session. He recorded us expertly, and then managed the editing of four tracks and also made the hard choices entailed in taking one of our longest discussions and producing a still-bountiful fifty-seven minutes.