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Angel Hair feature

Robert Duncan

At the Poetry Conference: Berkeley
After the New York style

Cover of Angel Hair anthology

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Beginning with sonnets for Ted Berrigan
Turning on poetry and I’m off
Along lines Ginsberg is reading to places
It takes a line in here I have not heard

Beautiful yellow cheeks and jowls
Marking an uneven stanza off with jewels
Little girls reading all the way thru 88
Highway into some part of Oregon
Goddess of music and poetry by-pass
Where Allen Ginsberg says ‘This’
A line for you in your own collection
It is eight forty-five and two more
For closing we need something lovely
That will lead on to closing doors we see.


Same evening. Can anybody.
Turning on poetry I have not heard
Ham it up so and still get down
From there he takes O’Hara
Who never really went there
where he did not come. From. They said.
He did little girls reading all
This one in a Black Mountain
Berrigan imitation North Carolina
Lovely needed poem for O’Hara
and Ashbery again going towards the Pound
Cantos with ashes and berries for the
Contempt they feel and gratitude and
for the puns’ sake
Dogs barking along another shore.
You never gave me my road.
What could I do for you?


They are crowding in the doors to hear
Ginsberg. But Duncan
Is writing Sonnets from the Portuguese
For T.Berrigan with run-on
Effusions of love and lines in rime

(which I have to postpone until later)
Allen is saying various things amusing.
I am singing Kenneth Koch even might be here
If they were written by John Ashbery
So turned on by Berrigan going off
towards uptown
He didn’t know I wrote the song
I have choruses of the West sing
Cantos and for Pound’s sake
Envoys and aves buses can have.
Byron Keats and Shelly are our boys abroad.
Sketch of a vista confronting the ocean.


Dear familiar words ‘cock’ and ‘cunt’
(Ginsberg is unbeknownst to Far Rockaway
Where in 1941 I went to meet Anais Nin
But it was raining and February
Frank O’Hara was probably in school.
Now at my most lovely
Never having been to Harvard for God’s sake
I’d like to make up a life of my own
Berrigan can have from me to think over.
Dear familiar words like... But no
Words come I’m so shy when words are familiar
‘Fate passing by’ Allen is bellowing
Nor was I unhappy. How much I love to be made love to
By delicate girl-hands
The whole thing belonging to Berrigan.


An old creep with a need to read poems
Has only my sonnets to Berrigan to read
So I put in the word ‘Jack Off’ from Ginsberg’s mouth
A line for you in your own collection.
We let the river run if it wants to.
Dogs barking along the other shore.

I put the coda towards the last
for friendship’s sake
Envoys and buses O’Hara needed
To get where I am behind times and scenes
[Do this passage in a BIG VOICE]
The audience is crowding in
To hear what we need and is lovely.

from Angel Hair 3, Summer 1967

Robert Duncan and Larry Fagin, Boulder, CO, circa 1980. Photo courtesy Larry Fagin.

Photo of Robert Duncan

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