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Louis Cabri

Six Takes on Poetic Influence, Ken Bolton, and the New York School [1]

There could be a book without nations in its chapters.

— Robert Duncan [2]

1/ Approaching influences


Australian poet Ken Bolton wants “America” to come to him, roughly on terms DH Lawrence set out in “The Evening Land.” Lawrence’s 1921 poem addresses “America” — “Oh, America,” it starts, Whitman-like, but — from outside the borders of the USA:


I would rather you came to me.
 … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … .
And I, who am half in love with you,
What am I in love with?
My own imaginings? [3]


Half in love. With what? Not entirely sure. “America.”


Bolton’s poetry sparkles with references to US rhythm & blues artists and songs, New York School art and poetry.


No music here. I sing ‘Down in Black
Bottom’ a lot,  some Fats Waller
                                                           Johnny Littlejohn, Howlin’
Wolf    —
                 & whistle a bit of bop. [4]


The poet is traveling through Italy — singing a 1932 Scrapper Blackwell tune! This is a poet who titled his poetry magazine Otis Rush. Serious blues fan? Many know Fats Waller by name at the very least; blues fans are apt to know Johnny Littlejohn’s music; and what about Scrapper Blackwell? Citationality has never been so lively as when reading Bolton’s poetry for the Youtube r&b — “Down in Black Bottom” included. And while he refers to influential poems by influential names in “the New York School” — O’Hara, Berrigan — he also refers to others in the school whose influence Bolton himself helps to raise and make: Towle, Denby.


Scrapper Blackwell’s “Down in Black Bottom” is sung in the streets of Rome on the tongue of a white poet visiting from Australia. “America,” “Europe,” and the poem’s speaker intersect in Bolton’s poetry in a fantastical, disjunctive way. The only references to break with the effect of fantastical disjunction are those Bolton makes to the visual arts. It would seem the pattern, otherwise, in Bolton’s poems, is for Europe to stand for value and power, which the speaker then diminishes, downplays, negates (“No music here” in Italy, for instance). In contrast to this approach to Europe (Europe’s visual arts excepted), USAmerican culture seems to come with no strings — old colonial strings — attached. Bolton’s poems freely ventriloquize USAmerican poetry and music. His “song,” cultural references, poetic line — in short, the signifier, derives from the USA, and mimics finance capital: the signifier floats. Blackwell, Waller, Littlejohn, Wolf — they’re floating, decontextualized, freely taken up. While the poem’s speaker evidently knows a lot about r&b, the poetry is constitutively unable to ground it in the USA, and, in effect, to know the USA except through the floating signifier “America” in its various long and complex (and delinkable) signifying chains — including this one to r&b (but, again, the signifying chain of visual arts is another matter).


For all Bolton’s cultural knowhow evident in his poetry, influences “from America” are acknowledged as happening to him “in Australia”: “Everything that’s happened to me / has happened in Australia.” [5] “America” comes to him.

2/ Influence actively receiving and shaping


Lawrence’s lines offer contrasting models of poetic influence. That “I would rather you [“America”] came to me” figures cultural influence directionally — coming, or going. Bolton’s poetry favours the former. Influences aren’t constituted by “going” (going in some sense which isn’t exclusively literal) to where influences originate. Bolton’s isn’t an originary model of influence, as that would entail trying to ignore, overwrite even, prior contextual presuppositions (“from Australia”; “from where I am”), in favour of a cultural context existing — presumably more authentically — elsewhere (“from America”; “from there / you”). Bolton casts into doubt an aspect of influence that claims it’s “more authentic elsewhere.”


His poetry also fundamentally questions a complementary claim that “it’s more authentic here, where I already am.” Influences from abroad come to Bolton, to where he “is,” an approach that presupposes a context actively receiving and shaping — influencing in turn — the representation of influences in the writing. This context of active reception isn’t presented as more authentic than the incoming influences.


Distinguishing between these two ways cultural influence from abroad can occur is crucial for how Bolton differentiates his internationalism from fellow poets who espouse versions of cultural nationalism that would limit influence. This distinction positions reason in his poetry in a particular way. In the 50+-page poem “Lecture: Untimely Meditations (Tentative Title)” (1993), Bolton lists two ways of construing influences from abroad: “Internationalism, / ‘cultural imperialism’… .” [6] Using a comma and not the conjunction “versus” between them suggests they are at best contrasted here, not set in binary opposition. Even though the status that influence has, as such, is in question in his poem’s argument with some Australian poets (poets who value what they call authenticity and who would therefore limit influences from abroad), Bolton remains wary of engaging them through binary opposition.


In truth I never cared about these things —
or cared about them as they occurred specifically:

I worried about my own authenticity
          in relation
to the great art of elsewhere

and the past. Ignoring or denying it
seemed not the way to go —

and anyway, I liked it: the fabulous clouds
of Guardi and Tiepolo, the silky greys and whites and silvers

of the skirts in a Gainsborough — like the winter skies
of Adelaide; the beautiful surfaces in the poems

of Frank O’Hara, Ted Berrigan, and later
James Schuyler — and the work of

some of my friends — which was great
in relation to that. [7]


The hope for a standard for measuring greatness in art and poetry (Guardi and O’Hara together) sounds like modernism, were it not for the language of individual preference (“I liked it”) whose lyrical subjectivity is open and in process but undertheorized in Bolton’s poetry.


One has to notice what else goes on in these lines about cultural influences from abroad. The phrase “in relation to” insists twice. Such relationality — and between different orders of elements, too: poems and artworks; and also, clouds, skirts, surfaces — has been understood in the past in structuralist terms that require binary opposition and a formalist approach to the social field of a text. Bolton does something else with reason than formalize it through linguistics. He keeps reason tied to relationality in order to expand on a fully enunciative sociality. Bolton has a different trajectory than the structuralist one for the Enlightenment reason that is historically coeval with colonization (in Australia) and formally evident in how he uses the first person singular’s centrality of place. He uses reason to keep open and to increase social relationality between the speaker of the poem and its addressee.

3/ Just when you thought it was safe … from influence


At any rate I obey my happy hour’s command,
which seems curiously imperative.

— Whitman [8]


Someone might want to burst out that Lawrence’s wish for “America” to come to him came true for many — one might want to say, came true with a vengeance, if that didn’t humanize the process: how living “outside” the outermost frame of USAmerican culture became increasingly harder to imagine since Lawrence’s day (“The Evening Land” was written in Germany and published in Poetry before Lawrence visited the USA). While I’ve suggested that Bolton’s use of poetic influences tends toward a model I’ve teased out from Lawrence’s lines as influences coming to the poet, Bolton’s understanding of their entailments isn’t exclusively poetical, but ideological. A brief example (hopefully not too irritatingly abridged):


[… ] Pam [… ]
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …
                              [… ] another thing

that is very Sydney [… is … ] the great
doorway to the T-shirt shop, filled with the fake jaws of a shark —
that you step through. [… ]
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … ..
                              [… but … ] the t-shirts they sell

are [… ] full of jokes about sharks — gross
views of Australian life, the sense of humour they appeal to
making one despair — of creeping Americanization
          — like an old man. [9]


One way to think of these lines is that they update the “accelerated grimace,” as Pound famously described it in “Hugh Selwyn Mauberly (Life and Contacts),” of the folk — as, now in Sydney, they are transported, by technological change, from formerly experiencing the innocent thrills of entering a shark’s mouth (made of wood?), to experiencing cultural ramifications of the blockbuster film, Spielberg’s Jaws (1975), say, the latter experience brought about by an altogether different order of technology than that which constructed the storefront, and requiring a different humour to cope with the newly manufactured fears (sharks themselves standing in for Fordist production, perhaps, as Fredric Jameson suggests of the dinosaurs in Spielberg’s later films).

4/ Influences circumventing national literatures


without juries,
          constellar, you feint,

— Brian Kim Stefans [10]


On the one hand, there are cultural interests of the nation state, and on the other, cultural influences on poets and artists. These interests, these influences, don’t overlap often. But to try to think beyond such a standard frame for considering poetic influence — the national state and the idea of a national literature — raises a set of further complicating issues.


Contrary to the tenor of Bolton’s lines in the section above, the “America” in his poems is not just a ramped-up Murdochian version of “creeping Americanization.” The poetry can’t be paraphrased as grimacing accelerometrics. Bolton’s “America,” like Lawrence’s, retains in outline Whitman’s democratic vistas. Bolton’s Whitman subsumes Murdoch, not vice versa (i.e., there’s still a kind of hope, and one that isn’t nostalgic — presumably as would be the “old man”’s cause of despair, referenced in Bolton’s lines in the section above).


At the same time, “Whitman as forebear” fails to specify Bolton’s USAmerican poetry influences, except by lateral default because of the presence of US poets and poetry in his work — which even then, would describe those influences in a too-overdetermined way to be of use.


So how write on Bolton’s USAmerican influences?


It seems fitting — and symptomatic, too, of the problem — that the poetry I’m writing about has been described as “a deliberate — although not unaffectionate — hijacking of Australian Literature.” [11]


Before this purported hijacking occured there was an infamous mugging.


Chris’ joke
about Modernism in Australia —

that it’s like the guest
who arrives late

— “Sorry I am late.
I was mugged.”

History’s view —
of the Ern Malley hoax. Irreparable damage & all that. [12]


Capitalism — i.e., “Modernism” — arrives late in Australia because some local literary ruffs capitalize on the much-anticipated arrival of this still relatively unrecognizable guest by fabricating him in the person of Ern Malley. They hold up Modernism to steal its authenticating value (which backfires spectacularly, as the history of the Ern Malley hoax shows).


Further, both the ideas of “dinner guests” at History’s tabletalk and of the Hemingwayesque “moveable feast” metaphor for literary history represent genteel versions of what international modernism was about, versions that came after modernism, as ideological screens for institutional entrenchment. [13]


All this to suggest that the mugging (Australian modernism “by Ern Malley”) and subsequent hijacking (Australian literature by one Ken Bolton) seem connected, the one aided and abetted by the other, and seem to share a sensibility, not only in a sociohistorical sense (it would need to be fleshed out), but also in the way the social imaginary — fantasy as such — is given priority in the poetry. It is just this sort of imaginary that significantly informs how USAmerican poetry influences Bolton’s.


It should go without saying at this point that I won’t be approaching Bolton’s USAmerican poetry influences from a “Canadian” perspective either, even though parallels exist (across different decades) between Canada and Australia vis-à-vis USAmerican influences in the context of national literatures. I’m taking a perspective that it’s not Whitman as forebear but “Whitman as forebear”: indelibly marked by USAmerican poetry, not itself USAmerican, reading an Australian for same.

5/ Systemic influences


Bolton’s poetry is “half in love” with USAmerica because, as he writes, “Well, I’m in it, & of it.”


Meaning: he can’t help it; it’s part of him.


How much is knowable of what one is systemically “in” and “of”? A systemic problem demands what kind of “solution”? Does such a problem “demand”? Is a “systemic influence” critically conceivable only as a “problem”?


Half in love also means that Bolton’s poetry can only half know how indebted it really is to “America.” I’ll offer two angles on this point, each with example.


The first example comes from the end of “Amaze Your Friends,” the excerpt beginning with Mad Magazine’s t-shirt-worthy slogan, What Me Worry?


                                           What Me Worry?
a culture!
                                             Well, I’m in it,  & of it
Thinking just today, at the gym,
                                                                                         where Bruce
Springsteen was playing
                                                       — unusually : usually
it’s  disco, hip-hop —
                                                              What better confirmation of Adorno’s

— the masochistic use of music’s repetition.
Songs sad, & to be loved …
                                                          & Born In The USA — an anthem
red-necks cheer for, on American Wrestling —
                                                                                                            to honor
                                                                                                            their boy

& chant identification

                                                                         yet the song means to point
To disillusion.

                                                           Know yourself I guess. I’m
too serene tonight
                                                           to want to think that thru
any diminishing conclusion.
                                                                              My father went before
& had, maybe, all these notions
                                                                                             in t-shirt & shorts
On the back steps, in
                                                                          the kitchen,  down the bush
that started beyond our yard
                                                                                    They are
their own reward
                                     point to the fact of the time
& freedom to have them
                                                                         — brief. [14]


A first way to read these lines is to say that instead of offering an “Australian” counterexample to USAmerican cultural influences and predicaments, the poem foregoes contesting rhetorics of public space altogether, continuing the serene mood in the privacy of family relation. A second way is to say that a counterexample to USAmerican imperialism — the buried subtext is the Vietnam War — is indeed offered as exactly one that constructs itself as a male private sphere.


In either reading, a crucial word in the excerpt is “notions”; notions aren’t quite “thoughts.” In another poem, he reflects on how punningly mischievous the word “notional” can be, in how the word can propose what it immediately takes back. This word is crucial because it describes what happens to thinking and to knowing by the end of the poem: they become purely notional (“their own reward”).


Except, to have even just a notion, to be in a position to entertain a notion, this speaker recognizes as a privilege made possible by the times (“the fact of the time”).


Bolton’s poetry can’t acknowledge how indebted it really is to “America” because it can’t know “America”; to “know ‘America’” is an oxymoron, for “America”’s reality is imaginary, not real. To know “America” would be to dispel the very fantasy that constructs the poetry. The subject of “Amaze Your Friends” is one with the chants that misidentify with Springsteen’s song. Here I mean to take nothing away from the evident internal distance in the poem between the displays of national chauvinism at an entertainment wrestling-match on television and the speaker’s own viewpoint. Nor do I wish to diminish fantasy; I mean, rather, to accept fantasy as real on its ontological terms, and to distinguish its functioning from other poetic approaches.


That Bolton’s poetry can only half acknowledge, can only half know, its USAmerican influences discloses itself in surprisingly inadvertent ways. My first example was drawn from the political sphere; my second is from the aesthetic.


                                           A review I read recently
                                                                                                   of Italian Poetry
remarked their tradition
                     of addressing each other, something British poets, it said,
“rarely did”. British poets, it seemed to me,
                                                                               rarely addressed anybody
but spoke as if they weren’t being heard, [15]


This bit of knowledge about Italian Poetry sticks out curiously given that the poets Bolton references are almost all USAmerican — specifically New York School poets whose tendency (one that it shares with jazz) is just this quality of “addressing each other.” The Italian-British comparative focus could be easily and sensibly expanded to include USAmerican poets of the New York School — were this not impossible, as it would mean acknowledging — knowing — USAmerican influence in a way that would dispel the fantasy necessary to constructing the signifying space of the poems.


These two qualities — a private sphere that seems to resolve public contradictions; a constitutional incapacity to know “America,” so that, instead, “America” constructs a notional, phantasmal space of permissions — arise as key to Bolton’s poetics.

6/ To the Bobbydazzlers


American poets!
you have saved
America [… ]
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … .
& you saved me,
too [… ]
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … .
[… ] escaping
the talented earache of Modern
Poetry. [… ]

— John Forbes [16]


There are social and psychical dimensions to Bolton’s preferred model of influence, to how a poet is able to reflexively acknowledge her contextual presuppositions when incorporating international influences.


Social dimensions include the poetry scene. By the 1970s, Bolton and poet-friends had created a Sydney scene. He writes about this scene and about the formative influence of “poems that did it for me” in Happy Accidents: D.U.I. in the 1970s. [17] I don’t know of many poems that attempt to address “the growth of a poet’s mind” (or of poets’ minds) in social, relational, poetically contextual, reflexive terms. Happy Accidents is one of them. [18]


Formative poetry-influences in Happy Accidents come to Bolton from either (1) contact with poets, (2) reading recommendations from poets with whom he is in contact, (3) his own reading. This pre-internet tripartite schema probably holds for many poetry scenes.


Given geography, USAmerican poetry influences in Australia largely didn’t occur via direct contact; but surprisingly, in Bolton’s case, there is no letter-writing, either. [19] There is a near-complete absence of contact with USAmerican poets, yet there appear a plethora of US poetsf proper names and poetry quotations — explicit, hidden, reworked — in Boltonfs writing.


The psychical dimension of Bolton’s internationalism arises from a kind of transferential defining moment, in which a friend’s work is realized to be comparable to “the great art of elsewhere.” Here is the humourous beginning to Happy Accidents:


I had been reading some poets before,
who were supposed to be good

And I suppose they were
but it was on

first reading John Forbes’ “To the Bobbydazzlers”
my eyes opened.

There did I breathe John’s
intense inane’

& the way you felt for them
I felt for you, John: as though

I sat, saluting — & stonkered —

an horizon — blue sky,
blue sea —

of all but

cheered, in-touch at last, silent,

on a kitchen chair, in Glebe,
upon a beach, in my imagination. [20]


The serious aspect to this part send-up of Keats’s allegory of reading as imperial discovery (“On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer”) lies in the “intense inane” kernel of the pristine beach cliché.


While the speaker recognizes this cliché as part of the Australian national imaginary (Australia as tourist beach destination), the kernel of it — “blue sky, / blue sea — // empty / of all but // admiration” — enacts a defining moment that is a transferential one (and also a transsubstantial one: person becomes horizon; Forbes becomes sky and sea). While the horizon is framed nationally (“I sat, saluting”) it is, itself, international in that the speaker figures its “intense inane” as a heroic work of abstract art, a monochromatic canvas of blues.


In front of this canvas, the speaker cheerfully admires simultaneously a purifying emptiness of meaning in coloured forms (blue sky absent meaning of “sky,” blue sea absent meaning of “sea”) and a silent fullness of perception (skylike blue, sealike blue). The transferential outcome judges local perception to be worthy of being set “in relation / to the great art of elsewhere,” while aware, as much as the percept can be, both of its framing devices (the Keatsian touchstone reading-experience) and of what lies contextually framing the literary frame (“a kitchen chair, in Glebe” [Sydney district]).


The gentle, wry humour so at play in these lines involves, as in much of Bolton’s poetry, an elsewhere / here contrast, in this instance between being “cheered, in-touch at last, silent” before the heroic works of international modernism, and sitting “on a kitchen chair, in Glebe.” The contrast highlights the precariousness and contingency, the vulnerability and contextual dependency of perception — however grand its artistic aspirations may be. Variations on values such as these figure in many of Bolton’s poems.


Starting out, I mentioned that references to visual art break with the patterning of relations that intersect “America,” “Europe,” and the poem’s speaker, in Bolton’s poetry. I can give an example now: the way the beginning of Happy Accidents re-works John Forbes’s poem “To the Bobbydazzlers.” The word “bobby-dazzler” is “chiefly dialectical” for “something striking or excellent” (OED). Lawrence uses it in Sons and Lovers and Rainbow to characterize a woman’s blouse and a bunch of flowers, for instance. In Forbes’s poem, the bobbydazzlers initially refer to New York School poems; mentioned is Berrigan’s Sonnets. By the end, however, the word is transformed in meaning to refer not just to one poetic tendency but to poems — to the starry sky of all poetries.


[… ]           Sitting
on the beach I
look towards you
but the curve
of the Pacific
gets in the way
& I see stars
instead knocked
out by your poems
American poets,
the Great Dead
are smiling
in your faces.
I salute their
luminous hum! [21]


Substitute “bobbydazzlers” for a classical reference as ancient as Greek mythology — the Pleiades — and one has placed Forbes’s poem into the tradition of all poetry that the poem’s ending invokes by way of a salutation. In contrast to Bolton’s re-working of the salute at the outset of Happy Accidents, Forbes salutes the “luminous hum” of Poetry, in the figure of bright stars. Before specific poems become perceptible within tradition (before the Great Dead are seen to smile on Berrigan’s Sonnets), a precondition must be met. Poetry must be perceived from a vantage such as that afforded in a place “from Australia,” where a physical impediment makes any direct contact with sources of poetic influence impossible. The earth’s curvature (the impediment) is the precondition to perceiving any horizon whatsoever.


The lines above, beginning Bolton’s Happy Accidents, substitute the figure of a nonspecific canvas of abstract art for what in Forbes’s poem is the figure of a starry sky. Why the substitution? Most art requires light to be perceived, and as I’ve suggested, reason has a special trajectory in Bolton’s poetry. Reason and light go together in a cliché so old that a light touch hasn’t yet reached it, so there’s got to be more going on with the substitution. Bolton wishes to strip as many layers of allusion (to European literary history) as is reasonably conceivable to do in a poem, layers still encrypted in Forbes’s ecstatic poem, in the image of poems as stars. Forbes himself undertakes to strip down modernist poetic diction (“[… ] I first / breathed freely / in Ted Berrigan’s / Sonnets, escaping / the talented earache of Modern / Poetry”). He replaces “Pleiades” with the British dialect word “bobbydazzlers.” Perhaps one hears The Grateful Dead edited into a different semantic register and become “the Great Dead,” but in the former, the capital letters merely indicate a proper name, whereas in the latter they heighten the diction once again. Bolton continues the process of erasure further. His re-working technique erases any specific visual arts reference that might identify the name of the abstract canvas in Happy Accidents. Nonetheless, the technique itself must have a reference — which suggests Rauschenberg’s Erased de Kooning Drawing (mentioned in Happy Accidents). But the name of the painting itself in Bolton’s poem remains occluded. And therefore there is nothing stopping us from extending the visual art figure in Bolton’s poem to any tradition within international abstract art. Given that the colour is blue and not, as with Rauschenberg’s canvas, white, the allusion — were there to be an allusion (but the figure’s point, I think, is to try not to give one away) — the allusion could be to Yves Klein’s “blue epoch” paintings and installations. Klein famously cited Bachelard on Eluardian blue — for Bachelard, the fourth of four categories of blue: “First there is nothing, then a profound nothing, next there is blue profoundness.” To which Bolton, I imagine, would feel compelled to add a final clause: on a kitchen chair, in Glebe. [22] For, in a great paradox of his work, Bolton is the most Australian of poets — if by “Australian” one means not the conventions hall of a national literature but, rather, a singular vantage “there” that opens onto an international horizon of poetic and artistic influences “t/here.”

[1] These six takes on poetic influence, Ken Bolton, and the New York School, are the first instalment of takes. A second instalment will be forthcoming. I’d like to thank Nicole Markotić for the written exchange of ideas that has made this essay a pleasure to write and possible to complete.

[2] Robert Duncan, from “There could be a book without nations in its chapters,” Derivations: Selected Poems 1950–1956 (London, Eng.: Fulcrum, 1968), p. 77.

[3] DH Lawrence, from “The Evening Land,” The Complete Poems of DH Lawrence, vol. II (London, Eng.: Heinemann, 1957), pp. 17 and 20.

[4] Ken Bolton, from “Long Distance Information,” At the Flash & At the Baci (Kent Town, Aus.: Wakefield Press, 2006), p. 129.

[5] Ken Bolton, Untimely Meditations (Kent Town, Aus.: Wakefield Press, 1997), p. 52.

[6] Ibid., p. 51.

[7] Ibid., p. 58.

[8] Walt Whitman, Speciman Days (NY: Dover Publications, 1995), p. 8.

[9] Ken Bolton, from “Halogen Pam,” At the Flash, p. 24.

[10] Brian Kim Stefans, from “Angry Penguins,” Angry Penguins (NY: Harry Tankoos Books, 2000), p. 31.

[11] Gregory O’Brien, “Running Dog: The Poetry of Ken Bolton.” Sport 16 (Autumn 1996). 21 July 2010,

[12] Ken Bolton, Ken Bolton: Selected Poems 1975–90 (Victoria, Aus.: Penguin, 1992), p. 172.

[13] For the equation modernism=capitalism, see Fredric Jameson, A Singular Modernity (NY: Verso, 2002). For the genteel institutional version of modernism, see David Antin, “Modernism and Postmodernism: Approaching the Present in American Poetry” (boundary 2 1: 1 [1972]: 98–133. Antin’s is not the most capacious essay on genteel modernism’s international dimensions, but an exemplary critique of its rise and scope in the US.

[14] Ken Bolton, from “Amaze Your Friends,” At the Flash, pp. 165–166.

[15] A Whistled Bit of Bop (Sydney, Aus.: Vagabond Press, 2010), p. 99.

[16] John Forbes, from “To the Bobbydazzlers,” Collected Poems (Blackheath, Aus.: Brandl & Schlesinger, 2004), p. 69. The poem is only a page long, and perhaps I should have cited it in its entirety in the epigraph to this section, given how much I will be citing from parts of it in a fragmentary way. However, by citing it in parts, I am able to develop my argument with a bit of surprise.

[17] Ken Bolton, Happy Accidents: D.U.I. in the 1970s (Adelaide, Aus.: Little Esther Books, 1999). “DUI” stands for Driving Under the Influence, of course; and in this extended context for understanding “influence,” an apt subtitle!

[18] There is also Michael Gottlieb’s The Gorgeous Plunge (NY: Roof, 1999), which I’ve written about in Shark 3. Cf. The Grand Piano, San Francisco 1975–1980: An Experiment in Collective Autobiography, vols 1–9 of a projected 10 vols. (Detroit, MI: Mode A, 2006-),, and in general, the status that correspondence, statements, interviews, etc., have for reconstructing relations constituting a poetry scene.

[19] Email communication from the poet.

[20] Happy Accidents, n.p.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Klein’s citation from Bachelard at an opening is recounted in Pierre Restany, Yves Klein: Fire at the Heart of the Void (Sec. rev. ed. Trans. Andrea Loselle. Intr. Klaus Ottmann. Putnam, CT: Spring Publications, 2005), p. 8. The Bachelard quotation is from Gaston Bachelard, L’air et les songes: essaie sur l’imagination du mouvement (Paris, Fra.: José Corti, 1990), p. 194.

Louis Cabri is author of Poetryworld, forthcoming from CUE. Coach House published his book The Mood Embosser. Recent chapbooks include What Is Venice? (Wrinkle) and — that can’t (Nomados). He is editor of a selected poems by Fred Wah (The False Laws of Narrative, Wilfrid Laurier UP) and with Peter Quartermain a special issue of critical essays on sound and poetry for ESC: English Studies in Canada (accompanying CD edited by Michael S. Hennessey). Past projects include the poets’ exchange PhillyTalks (with Aaron Levy), a double issue of open letters to/from poets for Open Letter: A Canadian Journal of Writing and Theory (with Nicole Markotić), and hole magazine and books (with Rob Manery). He has witten on Jackson Mac Low, Michael Gottlieb, bp Nichol, P. Inman, among other poets, and teaches modern and contemporary poetry, literary theory, and creative writing at the University of Windsor, in Ontario.

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