A Poet's Mind

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-08-07
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books
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Robert Duncan (1919-1988), one of the major postwar American poets, was an adulated figure among his contemporaries, including Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, and Denise Levertov. Lawrence Ferlinghetti remarked that Duncan "had the best ear this side of Dante." His stature is increasingly recognized as comparable to that of Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, H.D., and Louis Zukofsky. Like his poetry, Duncan's conversation is generative and multi-directional, pushing out the boundaries of discourse. His recorded reflections are a means of discovery and exploration, and whether talking with a college student or a fellow poet, he was fully engaged and open to new thoughts as they emerged. The exchanges in this book are exciting and lively. His vast and wide-ranging knowledge offers readers an increased understanding of the interrelations of the arts, history, psychology, and science; those who would like to learn about Duncan's own life, his bravery in being an out gay man well before Stonewall, and his friendships with fellow writers, such as Charles Olson, Jack Spicer, and Kenneth Rexroth, will find this book richly rewarding. The six volumes of Duncan's collected writings are being issued by the University of California Press. The collected interviews are an indispensable companion to these books, providing an in-depth exposition of his poetics, which center on the belief that the poem is "a medium for the life of the spirit." In A Poet's Mind, he describes the genesis of some of his works, including that of books, essays, and individual poems, and also discusses gay love and life, along with the many diverse influences on his work. Ducan's fertile creative mind is also evident in these conversations: often coming back to Ezra Pound in these conversations, he gives one of the clearest expositions to be found anywhere on the scope and meaning of The Cantos. This volume also includes a number of photographs never before published.

Table of Contents

List of Photographsp. viii
Foreword: "Robert Duncan and the Slipstream of Memory"p. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Derivation and Obediencep. 1
Meeting with a College Student (with Deborah Digges, 1974, unpublished)p. 3
For The Sullen Art (with David Ossman, 1960, unpublished)p. 8
Yale Reports: On Poetry (with Eugene Vance, 1964, unpublished)p. 15
"Wonder Tales" (with Michael Auping, 1983)p. 27
Australian Radio Interview (with Ian W. Reid, 1976, excerpts, unpublished)p. 30
"Then You Live in the Spirit" (with David Melnick, 1985, unpublished)p. 37
Naropa Institute Interview (with Anne Waldman et al., 1978, excerpts)p. 49
"A Poetry of Unevenness"p. 61
Beat Scene Interview (with Colin Sanders, 1980)p. 63
Interview with George Bowering and Robert Hogg (1969, excerpts)p. 81
Unmuzzled OX Discussion (with Howard Mesch, 1974)p. 86
"Flooded by the World" (with Jack R. Cohn and Thomas J. O'Donnell, 1980)p. 102
On the New Poetics (with L. S. Dembo, 1967, unpublished)p. 141
"Toward the Liberation of Human Love"p. 163
"A Vast, Nervous, Contradictory, Worldly Life" (with Robert Glück, 1984)p. 165
Poet of the Light and Dark (with David Quarles, The Advocate, 1976)p. 174
Gay Sunshine Interview (with Steve Abbott and Aaron Shurin, 1978-79, excerpts)p. 179
A Conversation with Robert Duncan (with Robert Peters and Paul Trachtenberg, 1976)p. 189
"Surrounded by Love's Company"p. 215
On Pound and Williams (with James Laughlin, 1983)p. 217
The World of Jaime de Angulo (with Bob Callahan, 1979, excerpts)p. 227
Charles Olson and Black Mountain College (with Ann Charters, 1969, mostly unpublished)p. 238
The Spectrum Interviews, 1982, Part I: "Out from Under 'Olson's Push'" (excerpts)p. 255
The Spectrum Interviews, 1982, Part II: "Revolt against 'Backlash'" (excerpts)p. 260
On Kenneth Rexroth (with Linda Hamalian, 1982)p. 267
"The Closeness of Mind" (with Gerald Nicosia, 1978)p. 282
A Conversation about Poetry and Painting (with Kevin Power, 1976)p. 293
In an Order of Ordersp. 343
boundary 2 Interview (with Ekbert Faas, 1980)p. 345
"Nematodes! Nematodes!" (with Michael McClure, 1985)p. 368
"Realms of Being" (with Rodger Kamenetz, 1985)p. 387
Sagetrieb Interview (with Michael André Bernstein and Burton Hatlen, 1985)p. 410
An Interview with the BBC (1985, excerpts, unpublished)p. 458
Permissions and Copyrightsp. 463
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