Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative Series 2 , spring 2011
Margaret Randall: Selections from El Corno Emplumado/The Plumed Horn Diane di Prima: The Mysteries of Vision: Some Notes on H.D. Diane di Prima: R.D.’s H.D. Barcelona, 1936: Selections from Muriel Rukeyser’s Spanish Civil War Archive Jack Spicer’s Beowulf: Selections Robert Duncan: Charles Olson Memorial Lecture
IN T RO D UCT ION Confluences
its second series, this transcription project signals a new departure. With a mix of graduate students having different interests, some with background in the so-called “New Americans” and others without, we embarked upon an auspicious endeavor: collectively editing two of Diane di Prima’s lectures (also in this series, The Mysteries of Vision: Some Notes on H.D., and R.D.’S H.D.), in preparation for her arrival. Not having been on the East Coast for a number of years, di Prima’s visit was itself an event, and included appearing in class, readings (the Graduate Center, Bowery Poetry Club, Living Theater), and her presence at Olson 100 in Gloucester, a centenary celebration of the continuing literary, civic, and political legacy of Charles Olson. A lot was happening: several students (Bradley Lubin and Kyle Waugh) went to Gloucester to experience the latest manifestation of this legacy first hand. Kate Tarlow Morgan (later a guest in class) and Ammiel Alcalay performed a piece in Gloucester called “Blue Suit,” partially based on a day spent in a bookstore in New York with Robert Duncan in the mid-1970s. Fred Dewey, an early interlocutor and supporter of Lost & Found and The Living Archives project, was also a speaker. Henry Ferrini, one of the key organizers of Olson 100, had ended his remarkable documentary Polis Is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place, with a scene filmed some years earlier at a Graduate Center seminar on Olson. Meanwhile, di Prima’s presence was a catalyst, propelling students in various directions: Megan Paslawski discovered the work of Michael Rumaker, a student of Olson’s at Black Mountain College, and a featured guest at the Gloucester events. Seth Stewart rapidly moved from long-standing work in the 18th and 19th centuries to s Lost & Found completes
an intense engagement with the work of John Wieners, helping lead to movement in the possible resolution of the Wieners Estate. Gabrielle Kappes began exploring the Gregory Corso archives. Meira Levinson, trained in classical Hebrew texts, began to discover radical Jewish figures like Wallace Berman, Jack Hirschman, David Meltzer, and Stuart Perkoff. Ana Boˇziˇcevi´c explored the possibilities of translating di Prima into Croatian. Kyle Waugh went to Storrs to continue his work on Ed Dorn, Stan Brakhage and others. Becca Klaver found a long forgotten essay by Alice Notley. Brian Unger continued work on the Philip Whalen archive, but came back in time to give di Prima a ride to visit her daughter in New Jersey. Rowena KennedyEpstein, while completing work on “Barcelona: 1936” for the series, discovered Muriel Rukeyser’s unpublished Spanish Civil War novel at the Library of Congress and quickly got the blessing of William Rukeyser, Muriel’s son, to edit the text for publication. She appeared, along with di Prima and others, at a tribute to Rukeyser organized by Aoibheann Sweeney from the Center for the Humanities. Lindsey Freer continued transcribing Ed Dorn’s Olson Memorial Lectures. And work by Tim Peterson (on Gil Ott), John Harkey (on Lorine Niedecker), and Jen Russo (on Hannah Wiener) continued. Surely there was more but at a certain point a quite magical confluence of energy and camaraderie took over: on the heels of work on di Prima’s lectures, we began reading more Robert Duncan, as well as listening to audio on Penn Sound and at the Naropa Archives, and the idea to transcribe a Duncan lecture emerged. A “Duncan Committee” formed but quickly found itself dubbed, by Kyle Waugh, the “Duncaneers.” With the presence of events in Gloucester palpable in the room, the decision to start with one of the Olson Memorial Lectures seemed not only natural but inevitable.
A serious and worthy enterprise.
— T h e Lo n do n Revi ew o f B o o k s
These chapbooks are a gold mine, so rich and important, and may well give rise to a new generation of writers.
— D i a n e di P r i ma
Such a great pleasure to read these beautiful reclamations of mind and time and place.
— A n n e Wa l dman
What a brilliant cast of characters. Just exactly what one (myself ) would like to read.
— J oa n n e K yg er
These books are gems. The idea is genius.
Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative Series II features extrapoetic work — correspondence, journals, critical prose, and transcripts of talks—of New American Poets, their precursors and followers. These primary documents are uncovered in archival research and edited by students and scholars at The Graduate Center, CUNY, as well as visiting fellows and guest editors, and prepared by Ammiel Alcalay, General Editor. Lost & Found puts into wider circulation essential but virtually unknown texts to expand our knowledge of literary, cultural, social, and political history. Lost & Found is published by the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York. (www.lostandfound.org)
Series I S B N : 978-0-615-43350-9
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The front and back card and two-page introduction to Robert Duncan's Olson Memorial Lecture.