Category Archives: Poetry

Milton

I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat. [. . .] That virtue therefore which is but a youngling in the contemplation of evil, and knows not the utmost that vice promises to her followers, and rejects it, is but a blank virtue, not a pure; her whiteness is but an excremental whiteness.

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Jorge Manrique

I decided to revisit a famous text by this poet and thought: how amazingly 15th century! And it is; in fact Manrique died before 1492 and missed the entrance of the “Indies” onto the global stage. This makes him profoundly removed or foreign, I feel, because he is at the same time so close to it.

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Un photo de 1950

RobertDuncan

In my parents’ books I find things from very long ago. Here my father is smoking with Robert Duncan at Sutro Baths in San Francisco.

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Robert Duncan

Among books I found a 1969 letter from him that reads in part:

Among my exploits this year, there was just recently—presented by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese—a Poetry Festival and Conference at Austin, Texas. Sumptuously sponsored. When Octavio Paz resigned as Ambassador to India, Texas grabbed him up. Or rather, Rodolfo Cardona, the new head of Spanish and Latin American Studies, grabbed him up. Cardona was the organizing presiding almost poetic “administration”; Paz, the designer in part. Zukofsky, Olson (with Creeley at the last moment crises taking his place) and I were the three American representatives, Paz, and Borges the South & Central American luminaries, and Alberto de Lacerda representing Portugal, Milosz attending to keep a Slavic note—we had three days of conversations and public readings. Paz and I had a half hour or so interview with Borges—or rather conversation, with that expert spinner of talk. Well, out of all that, for all of the fact that Paz and Borges are fluent indeed in English, I wisht I could switch gears into French (which was current) and Spanish.

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Théophile Gautier

Gautier went on, and wrote about a voyage to Spain in 1840. He also took a series of daguerrotypes there. It appears that he went to Spain in the hottest season because he felt this would give him the most authentic Spanish experience, and he slept in the patio of the Alhambra. This portrait resembles him greatly.

Gautier was a very interesting person with a very interesting set of activities, that I would like to study further.

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Angola 4 PM

Orig.: Wives but especially parents laughing brightly, keeping a stiff upper lip as they leave. Then, that somber drive home.

Version 1:

Wives, but especially parents laughing brightly,
keeping a stiff upper lip as they leave.
Then that somber drive home.

What do you think?

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The park was luscious and filled with swans and fairy-like creatures

The fairies were the many children old enough to walk but not talk, excited to be out trying to run and jump. Swans were gliding and posing, geese were honking, and wet turtles were in fact jumping, plop! back into the pond.
in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles          far          and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
it’s
spring
and
         the
                  goat-footed
balloonMan          whistles
far
and
wee

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