August 10, 2011
"Kenneth Rexroth (Part 1, 1958)" | interview by Jerome Rothenberg and David Antin (at the Five Spot) [link]
THE BLACK MOUNTAIN POETS
Begun in 1933 as an experimental school based on the principles of John Dewey, Black Mountain College, located in rural North Carolina, quickly attracted a large number of artists, dancers, writers, musicians, and other avant-gardists, including figures such as Josef Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Walter Gropius and Charles Olson. The College also invited numerous important figures for guest lectures, Albert Einstein, Clement Greenberg, and William Carlos Williams, among them.
In 1950 Charles Olson became the College Rector, the same year he published his seminal essay, "Projective Verse," which called for an "open field" composition opposed to traditional, more closed forms. For Olson poetry was to be based on the line, and the line represented a unit of breath, an utterance that lead from "one perception immediately directly [leading] to a further perception."
The essay, highly influential, became a kind of manifesto for the poets and students he had gathered around him at the College. These poets included Larry Eigner, Robert Duncan, Ed Dorn, Paul Blackburn, Hilda Morley, John Wieners, Denise Levertov, Jonathan Williams, and Robert Creeley, the latter who taught at the College and edited for two years its Black Mountain Review, before moving to San Francisco, when the College closed in 1957.
Other poets associated with this broadly-based group, included Paul Carroll, William Bronk, Cid Corman, Joel Oppenheimer, Theodore Enslin, Ebbe Borregard, Russell Edson, M. C. Richards, and Michael Rumaker, some of whom did not attend the College but were influenced, nonetheless, by the poetry and Olson's viewpoints. Indeed, numerous other poets, including Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and other figures such as Gary Synder, Michael McClure, and Philip Whalen were also influenced in their poetry and poetics.
The "group" has had wide influence over the years, not only for American poets such as the "Language" writers, but has effected British poets such as Tom Raworth, J. H. Prynne, and others.
There have been numerous books on Black Mountain College and the Black Mountain Poets, including:
Steven Carter, Bearing Across: Studies in Science and Literature (Oxford, England: International Scholars Publications, 1999); Fielding Dawson, The Black Mountain Book, a New Edition (Rocky Mount, North Carolina: North Carolina Wesleyan College Press, 1991); Edward Halsey Foster, Understanding the Black Mountain Poets (Columbia, South Carolina, 1995); Melvin Lane, ed. Black Mountain College: An Anthology of Personal Accounts (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990); and Sherman Paul, Olson's Push: Origin, Black Mountain and Recent American Poetry (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978). Martin Duberman's Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community (New York: Dutton, 1972) explores the wider implications of the College.
For an audio of Robert Creeley discussing Black Mountain College and his relationship to it, click here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2011/07/new-audio-of-robert-creeley-discussing-black-mountain-college/
August 9, 2011
Faiz Ahmad Faiz (b. British India/Pakistan)
Faiz Ahmad Faiz was born in Kala Kader, a village in Sialkot, Punjab in what was then British India in 1911. His father was Sultan Mohammad Khan and his mother, the Sultan's youngest wife, Fatima.
Faiz was sent, as is standard in a Muslim family, to the Masjid or mosque for religious studies at an early age. Later he attended the Scotch Mission School for an academic education, and then transferred to Murray College, Punjab for an intermediate education. Among his influential teachers there were Yousuf Saleem Chisti, who taught Urdu, and Shams-ul-Ullamah Syed Mir Hasan, the professor of Arabic.
Faiz acquired a M.A. at the Government College in Lahore in English Literature, and then attended the Oriental College, also in Lahore, to obtain an M.A. in Arabic Literature.
In 1936 Faiz created a branch of the Progressive Writers' Movement in Punjab, serving as Secretary, and editor of its monthly magazine, Mahnama. The year before he became a lecturer in English at M. A. O. College in Amritsar, and soon after at Hailey College of Commerce in Lahore.
Faiz briefly joined the British Indian Army, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1944. Three years later he resigned his post, returning to Lahore to become the first chief editor of the Pakistan Times.
Faiz had joined the Communist party early in his career, and throughout the 1950s and 1960s he worked at promoting the cause of Communism in Pakistan. His involvement with the military headed by Major General Akbar Khan, who attempted to overthrow the Pakistani government, led to his imprisonment and a sentence of death. He was released four years later.
In 1959, he was appointed as the Secretary for the Pakistan Arts Council, working in that position until 1962, spending much of his time abroad, particularly in London.
Returning from London in 1964, Faiz settled in Karachi, where he was appointed Principal at Abdullah Haroon College. Later, he continued his career in journalism, working as editor at the Pakistan Times and the weekly Lail-o-Nihar.
The 1965 war between India and Pakistan brought him to the Department of Information, but the bloodshed in the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan distressed him, and he wrote several poems expressing his emotions.
With the overthrow of Bhutto, Faiz went into into exile, where worked as an editor for the magazine Lotus in Moscow, London, and Beirut, returning to Pakistan finally in 1982.
Faiz's major contribution, however, was his poetry, which is seen my many as the most notable modernist poetry in Urdu. Among his major works are Naqsh-e-Faryadi (1943), Dast-e-Saba (1952), Zindan-Nama (1956), Mere Dil Mere Musafir and Sar-e-Wadi-e-Sina, all of these books collected in Nuskha Haa-e-Wafa.
Faiz also translated numerous works from English Russian, Balochi, and other languages. The poet also wrote several plays.
In 1963, Faiz received the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union. His work was also nominated several times for the Nobel Literature Prize. In 1990 he was posthumously awarded Pakistan's highest civilian award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz.
Faiz died on November 20, 1984, in Lahore, at the age of 73.
BOOKS OF POETRY (selected list)
Naqsh-e faryadi (1943); Dast-e saba (1952); Zindan nama (1956); Mizan (1964); Dest-i tah-yi sang (Lahore: Maktabah-yi Korvān, 1965); Harf harf (1965); Sar-e vadi-ye sina (1971); Mat¯a`-i lauh o qalam (Karachi: Maktab-i Dānīvāl, 1973); Rat di rat (1975); Intikh¯ab-i Pay¯am-i Mashriq : manz¯um Urd¯u tarjumah (1977); Sham-e shahri-yaran (1978); Mere dil, mere musafir (1980)
ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS
Poems, trans. by V.G. Kiernan (1962); Poems by Faiz, trans. by V. G. Kiernan (1971); Selected Poems of Faiz in English (Karachi: Pakistan Publishing House, 1984); The True Subject: Selected Poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, trans. Naomi Lazard (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1988); The Unicorn and the Dancing Girl, trans. by Daud Kamal (Ahmedabad: Allied Publishers, 1988); The Rebel's Silhouette, trans. Agha Shahid Ali (1991); Poems of Faiz Ahmad Faiz: A Poet of the Third World (New Delhi: M. D. Publications, 1995); Selected Poems of Faiz Ahmad Faiz (New Delhi/New York: Viking, 1995)
For a large selection of audios and other information, go here:
For a more substantial biography of Faiz,
He received his Ph.D. from the State University at Buffalo with his dissertation The Gothic Universe in the Fiction of Paul Bowles and William Burroughs. He worked at Buffalo as a student assistant to Charles Bernstein on "The Wednesdays At Four Plus" reading series.
from Temporary Worker Rides a Subway
The basic act is for any
trial and sentence, rooftop, bus
we wouldn't have never been
no stop, take top tax dollar shirt show
a passing glance arrested hardware
nor if or couldn't been, bend bare
bleached banner, a certain fancy never mind,
social critic brand name bonanza,
distribute if one as if one, court of out,
calibrate emotional bloodletting, sincere fish
if ever as to ever to, and too,
the man you took you took to be me
simply put the sale was fantastic
third show from the left, no sun from a stone,
bureaucratic barn burning, don't call,
we'll call care or carnage care, deepening
against as putt if any pull, paradise pander
love calculate, intrepid shortchange,
prospect of making you sick
won't have grenades in my garden
genre, simply say say simply, simply,
here's no money sucker, perhaps upon agenda
mean no say when saying no, reference
mistake swordplay, institutional apartment
appears as appears, bolster surrogate slaphouse,
if he didn't stinky cheese, recall
speaking of speech, future water dam in damn
videotape instruction, terrible termination,
I loves what not in such or when,
prove it prove it prove it prove it
Copyright ©2004 by Mark Wallace. Reprinted from Temporary Worker Rides a Subway (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2004)
August 8, 2011
We never parted since.” A year later, Naum published his first book. Incendiary Traveler, accompanied by Brauner illustrations, who then introduced him to André Breton and the Paris surrealist group. Naum later befriended artists Jacques Herold and Paul Paun, who both went on to illustrate some 20 books by him.
From My Tired Father
My tired father used the thought-gaze
He hit something solid with a pole and turned to me with a triumphant air
In fact everything was limited to a sort of exorcism of fear Only the crossing to the other side of the gesture was important
I had heard of the terrible storms there and I had come to know them
I made identical gestures the dial had no numbers and the sun shone somewhere very low
Weeping I asked for something to drunk My wife mentioned Abend Oh if only we weren't at this moment above the masts in his barrel she sighed There he is and there he should stay I said
And if he sails in a barrel he'll be in a fine spot
Around the same time someone decided to dedicate his life to science (potassium sodium aluminum)
On the other side two groups of three executed identical but inverse movements The second part corresponded to the first The third part excluded any countertendency and became a product
A ball rolled on the floor thus transporting itself into a completely separate category
Everything upset cried out
Between the two (parallel) walls only one man still practiced the old demonstrative functions
Space was a kind of sequential panel on which I could apply anything at all
On waking I had a pulse just as blind and obscure
White the intelligent students acquired sound knowledge within the framework of a demanding program
The language of sets was integrated in small doses
The pendulum's oscillation on which I had meditated a long time showed me furthermore that there were many distinct bodies that in blending neither disturb nor exclude one another They were in some very distance places
A young woman appointed professor in a gigantic school resolved to lover her students
A photographer left his wife and felt compelled to accept the invitation of a priest retired to the south The priest succeeded in reconciling the separate couple
A man was stretched out next to his wife The ceiling reproduced the include of the roof
A yellow spot seemed to emerge from its own absence
—Translated from the Romanian by James Brook
To buy a copy of the book, My Tired Father, click below:
English language translation copyright ©1999 by James Brook. Reprinted from My Tired Father/Pohem (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 1999).
Gale Nelson (USA)
Born in Los Angeles in 1961, Gale Nelson moved to Rhode Island in 1986, where he has taught at Trinity Repertory Conservatory and Brown University. At Brown he is the Assistant Director of the Program to Literary Arts.
Nelson is married to fiction writer Lori Baker.
Editor of paradigm press, Nelson began publishing his poetry in the early 1990s with stare decisis (1991), Little Brass Pump (1992), and The Mystic Cypher (1993). To date he has published eight books and chapbooks, the most recent being This Is What Happens When Talk Ends (2011), a work of 8 sets of 8 poems that each follow the vowel pattern of a particular passage Shakespeare. These works to not contain the playwrights "content," but try to build toward their own coherence. The sets are not presented in linear succession, but arranged in a chess patter, the earliest surviving knight's circuit, attributed to al-Adli ar-Rumi of Baghdad, presumed to date from 840 AD.
Nelson's work has also appeared in the anthologies 49 + 1: Nouveaux poètes américains and The Joy of Phonetics and Accents.
David Harrison Horton has described Nelson's poems as "....a landscape of structures and variables, carefully recording instances in which language enjambs to the point of crisis and consigns itself to an altered path. Nelson flashes in and out of poetic modes that he is able to rein in from the brink of cacophony and craft into an engaging series of poems."
BOOKS OF POETRY
stare decisis (Providence, Rhode Island, 1991); Little Brass Pump (Buffalo, New York: Leave Books, 1992); The Mystic Cypher (Norman, Oklahoma: Texture Chapbooks, 1993); Spectral Angel (Sausalito, California: Duration Press, 1999); In It (Providence, Rhode Island: paradigm, 2000); Intersecting Mr. Sams (Providence, Rhode Island: paradigm, 2000); ceteris paribus (Providence, Rhode Island, 2000); greek myth in eggcup relief (Providence, Rhode Island, 2001); This Is What Happens When Talk Ends (Providence, Rhode Island: Burning Deck, 2011)
For a suite of poems by Gale Nelson, click below:
╬Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
Heart’s Evolving Signal Swelling
Foisted picket honors summit’s slope
as cleft cot binds our plumes in dung’s gloom.
All shapes could draw clouds, stub books, cut off fumes
nicely, yet spell no blood spent on least-juiced
orange. Lotus blooms, but digits coin fortunes. Any
pout quiets laugh’s tug on tongue,
courts pleasant quarters stolen even in
frost’s dusty spell. Sausage folded in duty’s heft causes
infiltrated salad doom in spite of
candor’s fine tact. Bottom’s up this vast beer bent,
sopping enough frothed cask but ale’s last mine.
Ease this liar’s cascade,
pose affinity’s louche vanity on last sudden
sun-lit branch. Cannot panel-long joists bend in?
No. Patter’s tooth-bust jag casts mood’s dull gloom. Limb’s mask
is daft as tumbles fall, and anyone yet tamed
postures poem’s stanza of dancing
in wrack’s cant. Tundra binds tonsils and igloo strips into
treacled home. Saucers mixed in, saucers
yet no cups in this blessed top shelf. Friends
spill nothing, break in on dare. That’s parsed but
an agony. Spare my trauma my siphon’s blade
and float past teaching’s flame.
Infighting, berating ill friend’s long relapse,
can’t we stop being dolts? Can all madness blind me,
upset or agonize? Must
that be all? Moisten not the lost lip,
carry ever on the fiendish aloof bent, alone.
Obscene candid yelps plead my insect’s cold heart
in vast desert’s blinded gloom, yet valiant bids
shall cancel either because of tether’s crawl.
Tonnage ingraining supply, ingots fadge only luck’s
tumble. Who enlists predicts eased plan
of entombed career talents in
inexact falls. Telescoped star shards twine those
cavities parsed as fluted straws, but
stains can suddenly place sampled lances on cup’s
dim clamor. Sugar beets grow between cusps,
and out above this fancy land,
closer stars bend in neutered shame.
Bid me no succor, honor just these saddened chromes
Copyright ©2009 by Gale Nelson. Reprinted from EOAGH, no. 5 (2009).
August 6, 2011
"Keeping History a Secret" | essay by Douglas Messerli (on Howe's Secret History of the Dividing Line)
"Poetry as History Revised: Susan Howe's 'Scattering As Behavior Toward Risk'" | by Ming-Qian Ma [link]
When he resigned his commission in 1958, Uyar went to work at the Cellulose and Paper Consortium in Ankara. During these years Uyar developed a friendship with Turkish poet Cemal Süreya.