Short Takes

A few short takes on items that might be of interest:

  • Exciting news for fans of Ron Padgett: Padgett’s Collected Poems will be published later this year by Coffee House Press.

“Ron Padgett’s poems are essential and Ron Padgett is a genius. His poetry is masterful for its panoramic humanity and mind-stopping verbal wit, its breathtaking power and beauty. We want to stay with the person in these poems all day long, to be changed by the possibilities palpitating from the smallest increments of our existence to the most sublime as they as they leap from Padgett’s brain onto the page. This inspiring tome is the transcendent friend.”—Anne Waldman

  • Another book I’m looking forward to seeing: The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley, edited by Rod Smith, Peter Baker, and Kaplan Harris.  (Creeley was, of course, not a poet of the New York School, but he was a fellow “New American” poet, a good friend to the poets, a fond and close reader of their work, and vice versa). The book will be published in January 2014.  Here is Charles Bernstein’s blurb for the book:

Along with his poetic hero, William Carlos Williams, Robert Creeley is the great 20th century American poet of the everyday. In these letters, beautifully and meticulously edited and annotated, we get to the see Creeley’s daily life and thoughts up-close, informal, familial, immediate, generous, grieved, stuffed to the brim with poetic insights. These letters show Creeley as exemplary in his support of younger poets who rejected a poetics of complacency that reigns now, as it did in his time. They reveal how he championed the radical modernists of the generation before him. And most important, they place him in the company of those of his own generation in their successful transformation of postwar poetic thinking. ‘There is nothing that does not yield its beauty to that sight, not one human term that will not come true there.’

Jane Freilicher remains an important figure when considering the New York poets that emerged in the mid 20th century. This exhibition gathers Freilicher’s paintings and drawings, as well as two videos by Rudy Burckhardt, and features four vitrines containing photographs, book covers, letters, and manuscripts—some poems with lines crossed out and handwritten additions in the margins—that point to the interrelated friendships between painter and poets, and to the development of work at hand. There is a great deal of wit, affection, and critical exchange evident. Freilicher, now 88, was an inspiration, loyal friend, and trusted critic of many poets, in particular John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara, and James Schuyler. The exhibition is able to unfold, through so much original material, just how crucial the frequent critical dialogue and encouragement coming from Freilicher was in forming and supporting the daily lives and work of these poets.

  • In a brief review in the New York Times of a gallery show of photographs by Eliot Porter, the brother of Fairfield Porter, Karen Rosenberg connects the work of the two famous sibling artists: 

His muted shots, which have been published in photography books alongside Thoreau’s writings, seem to flatten out the landscape without reducing its meditative complexity. (In that, they have much in common with the paintings of his brother, Fairfield Porter).

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