Poetry Outsource” (Robert Kocik)

Landscapes of Dissent: Guerrilla Poetry & Public Space 

Possibly easier to read version of the above (from the Earth Bound: Compass Points Toward an Ecopoetics manuscript): BoykoffSandKocik


I know we are reading everyone’s suggestions this week, but I am posting the readings listed on the syllabus anyhow, in case there’s interest:

Charles Bernstein, “Semblance,” “Stray Straws and Straw Men”

Kenny Goldsmith, “Why Conceptual Writing? Why Now?
Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (selections)

I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women (selections)


“A Little History of the Mimeograph Revolution,” from A Secret Location on the Lower East Side, eds. Rodney Phillips and Steve Clay

Excerpts from A Book of the Book, ed. Jerome Rothenberg and Steve Clay
BookOfBookSelectionsAdobeSm (email me for a higher res version)


Consider the vital social (collaborative as well as competitive) context of form (the Canso) in medieval troubadour poetry, as outlined in my “Note on Trobar” in the Duration Press translation issue, toward a foreign likeness bent (pp. 54-58). (Some translations follow the “Note.”)

Consider the history of Renaissance verse miscellanies and how poetry was privately circulated before Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella got printed and became such a hit.

For a brief account, see A History of Seventeenth-Century English Literature, by Thomas Corns (Wiley Blackwell, 2013):




Consider The Devonshire Manuscript: A Women’s Book of Courtly Poetry, by Lady Margaret Douglas and Others:

“This is the first printed edition of a manuscript collection of verse whose importance for an understanding of the culture of Henry VIII’s court and women’s central role in the exchange and enjoyment of poetry cannot be over-estimated. The manuscript [principally featuring poetry by Henry Wyatt] was owned and used by, among others, Lady Margaret Douglas, the King’s niece; the Duchess of Richmond, sister of the poet Earl of Surrey; and Mary Shelton, Queen Anne Boleyn’s cousin. These women not only collected a unique anthology of the most fashionable poems of the period, but also contributed verses, occasionally of their own composition.” (Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies)

Perhaps the most famous Elizabethan poetry exchange is between Christopher Marlowe (“The Passionate Shepherd to His Love“) and Sir Walter Ralegh (“The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd“).

Read Keats’s famous letter on “Soul-making” to his brother and sister.
Here are five key poetics statements as excerpted from Keats’s letters:

Here is Emily Dickinson’s knockout poem about hummingbirds and/or the mail, “A Route of Evanescence.”

Read Frank O’Hara’s brief “Personism” manifesto.

Here are three Frank O’Hara classics: “Personal Poem,” “The Day Lady Died,” “Having a Coke with You.” Here is a short film of O’Hara reading the last.

Read Marjorie Perloff’s account of the correspondence between Denise Levertov and Robert Duncan.

Finally, consider this account (by Brian Ang) of a 1981 conversation between L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writers Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, Ray DiPalma, and Ron Silliman, about social formations in American poetry and the role of correspondence, etc. There are some notes on, and a link to, their performance of the collaborative book LEGEND.


Pablo Neruda, Canto General I (“A Lamp on Earth”) NerudaCantoGeneralSm
Ed Roberson, “To See the Earth Before the End of the World,” “Topoi” (from To See the Earth Before the End of the WorldRobersonToSeeRobersonTopoiSm
Muriel Rukeyser, The Book of the Dead (excerpts) RukeyserBookOfTheDeadExcerpts
Ed Sanders, “Creativity and the Fully Developed Bard” Sanders_Bard
Brenda Coultas, The Bowery Project (read around, enough to get a flavor, or if you like it, read it all)

Supplementary (further reading):
Lyn Hejinian, “The Quest for Knowledge in the Western Poem” (essay)


[As we have gotten behind in our discussions, the reading for this week remains the same as for last week. We will focus on these Week 5 readings in our supplementary session.]

Roman Jakobsen, “Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances

Hart Crane,“To Brooklyn Bridge,” “Cape Hatteras” (from The Bridge), “General Aims and Theories”

T.S. Eliot, “Hamlet and His Problems

Sylvia Plath, “Ariel,” “Lady Lazarus,” “Nick and the Candlestick

André Breton and Philippe Soupault, Magnetic Fields 

André Breton,“Free Union

Cecilia Vicuña, “10 Metaphors in Space

Francis Ponge, “Rain,” “The Candle,” “The Cigarette,” “The Oyster,”“The Mollusk,” “Moss” (from The Voice of Things)

Francis Ponge, “Introduction to the Pebble”


Please read the first half of John Hollander’s  (through p. 41, PDF), and look and listen through a portfolio of poems that manifest feeling engagement with lyric form–short poems by poets who “break” or play with form, or who work with a formal stance to expose, rather than shield, the lyric subject.

Some of the poets emphasize the “break” of caesura or enjambment, others play with shuffling the line, or with permutating it, or with exploding it across the page, or with introducing unlikely content, or with downplaying (while demonstrating a real tour de force with) the form. Many of the poems are available online (and I have provided links) but some have had to be scanned in, and those documents are posted here. Read around, study the ones that interest you–see if you can identify moments of “irregularity,” where the form is “roughed up” in a way that makes it interesting, or where (and how) it gets disordered in a way that reveals the order.



Sir Thomas Wyatt
“My Galley, Charged with Forgetfulness”
“Stand Whoso List”
“The Long Love that in my Thought doth Harbour”
“They Flee From Me”
“Unstable Dream”
“Whoso List to Hunt, I Know where is an Hind” 


John Weiners
“A Poem for Record Players”
“A Poem for vipers”
“A Poem for the Old Man”
“The Acts of Youth”
Here is a recording of Weiners reading “The Acts of Youth” at a seminar held by Robert Creeley.

Further poems:
The Meadow Where All Things Grow According To Their Own Design” 
A Poem for Trapped Things
My Mother

“Let the heart’s pain slack off”
“An Anniversary of Death”
“A Series”
“Shall Idleness Ring Then Your Eyes Like the Pest?”
“Tuesday 7:00 P.M.”
“This Love that Moves the World, the Sun and Stars” 


Ted Berrigan, The Sonnets (selections)

It’s worth listening to Berrigan read a few of these.
You can access individual recordings of the sonnets via Berrigan’s PennSound author page.  


Hendecasyllabics (after Catullus)



Sestinas by Sherman Alexie, John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop


What You Hear, by Larry Eigner (“typewriter” poetry)


Lorine Niedecker, “Paean to Place

You can read a facsimile autograph version of the poem here:

Karl Young’s insightful essay gets into some of the formal tricks of the poem–which is partly modelled on the Japanese “renga.”

We’ll try a “renga” next week (so you might want to familiarize yourself with the brief instructions here).

Also please read the selections from Charles Olson’s The Maximus Poems. There are some discontinuities in the selection–it’s more to give instances of and a flavor of his project. “Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 [withheld]” (which I include all of) is especially important. You can find plenty of recordings of Olson reading these poems on PennSound (there are also some videos, well worth watching).

I’d recommend listening to the recording of Olson reading “Maximus from Dogtown II” (Dogtown is a wild “commons,” just outside the town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, that Olson spent a lot of time wandering around in)  


Please read the selections from Robert Creeley’s For Love—from “for Hart Crane” through the title poem, “For Love.”

Creeley’s poems are deceptively informal: attention to their syntactical and rhetorical dimensions reveals much art. Look up these different rhetorical forms of repetition: anaphora, polyptoton, diacope, epizeuxis. See if you can locate instances of them in Creeley’s poems. Read some of the poems aloud (and/or go to PennSound online for recordings of Creeley reading them) and listen for echoes, rhymes, and half-rhymes. Note the shifts in forms of address (questions, assertions, insults). Appreciate the “broken-backed” line (from Wyatt, who Creeley admired) that his enjambments and caesurae often create.

Listen to Creeley discuss the influence of jazz on his work, 13:20 -20:00 of this panel discussion on jazz and poetry, and listen to some of the links to classic jazz recordings (in RESOURCES), while you read and write or in other ways. Think about formal cues Creeley is taking from the jazz into the poems he is writing in For Love.

Emily Dickinson, “The Brain, within its Groove
Jack Spicer, A Book of Music
Jack Spicer, Vancouver Lectures: from “Dictation and ‘A Textbook of Poetry’” (1965)
Jack Spicer, “new” poems for Poetry
Ed Sanders, “Creativity and the Fully Developed Bard”
Jack Spicer, California Lecture: from “Poetry and Politics” (1965)