July 3, 2011



Less a formal "group" of poets than a gathering of Southern California poets through a series of interrelated friendships, these writers stand apart from the other various and diverse poetic activities throughout the region.

Although many of them had long worked together and appeared in small groupings in numerous anthologies and magazines, they were most notably linked by Douglas Messerli's anthology Intersections: Innovative Poetry in Southern California, as the fifth volume in his The PIPAnthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century of 2005.

The poets included in this volume—Will Alexander, David Antin, Rae Armantrout, Thérèse Bachand, Todd Baron, Guy Bennett, Franklin Bruno, Wanda Coleman, Robert Crosson, Catherine Daly, Michael Davidson, Leland Hickman, Barbara Maloutas, Deborah Meadows, Douglas Messerli, Harryette Mullen, Martin Nakell, Dennis Phillips, Christopher Reiner, Martha Ronk, Joe Ross, Jerome Rothenberg, Mark Salerno, Standard Schaefer, John Thomas, Paul Vangelisti, Pasquale Verdicchio, and Diane Ward—were linked not so much by aesthetic or structural issues than by what Messerli described as "intersections," a series of concerns and poetic issues which occurred whenever two or more of them came together.

Although few of the poets over the years kept in close contact all the others (indeed three of poets were dead at the time of the anthology), through events such as Messerli's long-running literary salon (1985 to 2006) and publication in journals such as Lee Hickman's Temblor, Paul Vangelisti's Invisible City, Ribot, The New Review of Literature, and OR; Douglas Messerli's presses, Sun & Moon and Green Integer; and the collaborative publishing venture of Dennis Phillips, Martha Ronk, and Paul Vangelisti, Littoral Books made for close working relationships between the majority of these figures.

Messerli defined six major "intersections" wherein most of the poets included came together: 1) an insistence upon editing and creating similar poetic activities, 2) an international perspective, including an interest in translation, 3) an interest in non-Hollywood film, drama, and performance, 4) an interest in visual art, 5) the use of the landscape of Southern California and an underlying similarity of linguistic tropes, 6) a fascination with narrative stimulated by the vast spaces of the region.

Since the anthology, while many of the friendships have been maintained, the spirit of any "group" activity has somewhat dissipated, with some poets (Franklin Bruno, Joe Ross, and Standard Schaefer) moving away from the area.

—Douglas Messerli

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