In The beginning. . .The New Black Bart Poetry Society aspired to be a unique albeit ambitious poetry discussion group based on the lower Russian River in Northern California. It lasted barely three months although the bookstore venue closing probably had a lot to do with its swift demise.
Inaugural Meeting Agenda In which the idea for the discussion group is formulated.
NBBPS Provisional Mission Statement A statement outlining the aims of The New Black Bart Poetry Society and offering up potential subjects for discussion in future meetings.
Oct. 3, 2012 (posted 10/10)
The New Black Bart Poetry Society, Minutes of the Inaugural Meeting
Memo To The Membership In which the venue , River Reader Bookstore, closes and thus brings to an end the original idea of an actual poetry society with actual people interacting in actually discussing trends in poetry.
A year later. . .Parole, the blog of the New Black Bart Poetry Society, whose original purpose was to serve the function of posting agenda items and reading recommendations for group discussion, had been inactive for almost a year when it was repurposed as a platform to talk about poetry even if it wasn’t to an assembly of poetry lovers.
Reach For The Sky This is a stick up: contemporary poetry workshops as a con job with commentary by Antonin Artaud and Franz Wright.
Wheelbarrow Chickens Weather In which William Carlos Williams, one of the progenitors of Modern American Poetry is given his due.
W.C.W. and his buddies shifting gears with a sometimes sticking clutch by Lucille Friesen in which the Society’s Montreal correspondent backstops the previous post with insightful commentary.
Continuing. . .and picking up from the previous year with the idea that a poetry blog might not be a bad idea if it didn’t feature poems but discussions on poetry, book reviews, anecdotes, and profiles of poets of all stripes. The bulk of the posts would be authored by the Society staff, either the Grand Poohbah (every society should have one), and the appropriately named Parole Officer.
Bob Dylan, Musician Or Poet? A response to a New York Times Book Review back page filler and a really stupid question answered by a couple of literary swans who did not or could not come up with a discernible opinion one way or the other.
Who Reads Poetry Anymore? The perennial question receives the obvious answer.
Never Apologize, Never Explain, The Poetry Of Philip Whalen by Pat Nolan A continuing colloquy on the importance of the poetry of Philip Whalen, one of the three W’s of American Poetry (Williams and Whitman be the other two) See also Never Apologize Never Explain, Part II posted on 7/10/20
A Diamond Wired For Sound by Keith Kumasen Abbott A seminal essay on Philip Whalen’s seminal poem, “Sourdough Mountain Lookout”, and the Diamond Sutra.
The Poetics of Defiance Andrei Codrescu and his Selected Collected Poems, So Recently Rent A World, from Coffee House Press are given more of the attention they well deserve.
Notley Noir A review of Alice Notley’s poetry pulp thriller, a first in the history of epic poetry (pace Homer) reviewed by Pat Nolan.
Past Present Future, Part I by Pat Nolan The history and evolution of the original Black Bart Poetry Society and its scurrilous mimeo newsletter, Life Of Crime, from the 80s.
Past Present Future, Part II How a zombie idea that was thought dead and buried was resurrected twenty plus years later and found a greater purpose and audience as The New Black Bart Poetry Society. The Poltroon Press facsimile collection of the Poetry Society newsletters published in 2010 as Life Of Crime, Documents in the Guerrilla War Against Language Poetry certainly must take some of the credit (& the blame).
Scooping Black Bart by Dan Demers Resident historian Dan Demers’ fascinating account of how Charles Boles aka Black Bart was captured and the cub reporter who broke the story.
Steve Carey, Smith Going Backward A nostalgia piece by Pat Nolan, reflecting on the influential first book of Steve Carey’s poems, and how this incredible poet who died at an early age is one of the neglected masters of modern American poetry.
Three years later. . .the blog seemed to take on a life of its own (typical of zombie ideas) with a record ten posts the previous year and acquired a group of regular (& irregular) contributors
Way Way West by Steven Lavoie A New Black Bart Poetry Society exclusive first look at Lavoie’s essay on the migration of the Actualists from Iowa to the West Coast that would be a cornerstone in the late Morty Sklar’s anthology The Ultimate Actualist Convention: A Detailed View of Iowa City Actualism in the 1970s & 1980s and Its Migration to the San Francisco Bay Area (The Spirit That Moves Us Press, 2017)
Little Mag Art by Keith Kumasen Abbott Art work in poetry magazines especially of the mimeograph variety, and the art and calligraphy of Philip Whalen
Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems 50th Anniversary All Star Reading A report by Parole’s society columnist Steve Lavoie
Someone Else’s Paul Blackburn The discovery of a used copy of Paul Blackburn’s The Cities in a Bay Area used bookstore with the original owner’s scribbled annotations throughout.
The Dharma Bums: Kerouac’s Dust Jacket Copy by Keith Kumasen Abbott Kerouac’s text intended for the dust jacket copy of the novel reveals, in a remarkably compact form, the marketing angle that he wanted Viking Press to follow.
Contributors Notes by Pat Nolan How a “California school of poets” designated by Andrei Codrescu in the contributors notes to his anthology Up Late, American Poetry Since 1970 prompts a review of the members of this so-called coterie and a brief history of the First Annual (& last) Punk Poetry Festival held in San Francisco at the Terminal Gallery.
Delete Punctuation The birth of Modern Poetry aka free verse thanks to Apollinaire and the typewriter.
Minimalist Poetry A witty collage sendup on the controversy behind Aram Saroyan’s minimalist poem lighght.
Quantum Redux Originally published in Poetry Flash as The Quantum of Kerouac, Pat Nolan takes a look at Kerouac’s life and legend in a roundabout review of Joyce Johnson’s The Voice Is All and Gerald Nicosia’s One And Only, The True Story Behind On The Road
Philip Whalen: Beset By Irony Pat Nolan reviews the long awaited biography of Philip Whalen, Crowded By Beauty by David Schneider
By now. . .Parole, still on its best behavior, has become a regular watering hole for those of literary savvy and discernment not to mention the pathologically obsessed.
Epilegmena To The Prolegmena Pat Nolan recounts the event held to celebrate the publication by Poltroon Press of Philip Whalen’s Prolegmena to a Study of the Universe & Other Prose Takes and his participation at Moe’s Bookstore in Berkeley along with Alastair Johnston, Owen Hill, Steven Lavoie, Tinker Greene, David Brazil, and Michael Rothenberg.
Jack’s Haiku Letter To Gary by Keith Kumasen Abbott Kerouac’s letter to Snyder scattered some brilliant haikus throughout his crammed version of hitchhiking up to Skagit Valley and its adventures.
At A Secret Location A legendary bookstore whose small press alcove could lead to a valuable education in contemporary underground poetry of the post-war era as a kind of Americano samizdat.
Rhythm-A-Ning by Keith Kumasen Abbott An enlightening look at the relationship between Philip Whalen and jazz, in particular Thelonious Monk, and an advancement of the idea of spontaneous bop prosody.
Don’t Mess With Bill A reflection on the passing of art critic and poet Bill Berkson by Pat Nolan
Commonplace Discoveries by Philip Whalen A talk about Whalen’s friend, the poet Lew Welch, one of the Reed College Gang of Three that also includes Gary Snyder.
A Precursor To Haiku by Pat Nolan The introduction to, Poetry For Sale, the anthology of haikai no renga featuring linked verse by Keith Kumasen Abbott, Maureen Owen, Mike Sowl. Gloria Frym, and Steven Lavoie among others.
In Conversation With Maureen Owen A conversation with Pat Nolan revealing Maureen Owen’s poetic origins, her time as co-director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s in New York City, starting a literary magazine, Telephone, and her press, Telephone Books as well as her fascinating time in Japan raising her two young sons.
Limping. . .into another year with many questions as to why.
Edgy Dreams A review of Alistair Johnston’s Dreaming On The Edge, an engrossing illustrated narrative about the small press/fine press world of the West Coast (mainly California) beginning in the late 19th century to the present by a master printer and book man.
Nothing Is Forever by Keith Kumasen Abbott Abbott’s close look at a poem, Kosan-ji, that he rescued from Philip Whalen’s notebooks at the Bancroft Library and one not included in the Collected Poems.
The NO HAT Lecture by Keith Kumasen Abbott On Kerouac’s haiku. Jack Kerouac’s Book of Haikus (Penguin, 2003) functions as a literary collection but also as a collection of various contemplative perceptions, intuitions of Buddha-mind.
The Great Broadside Swipe A who’s who report on the memorial for Joanne Kyger by Parole’s society columnist Steven Lavoie.
Showing Vs. Telling, Toward a Rhetoric of the Page, Part I by Tim Hunt Jack Kerouac and Robinson Jeffers scholar Tim Hunt offers an incisive view on textuality. “The medium of writing must be, it seems, either an attempt to subvert, an attempt to ignore and hide, or an attempt to engage the differences between the twinned but solitary moments of writing/reading and the social interactivity and speaking, listening, and replying. . .”
Showing Vs. Telling, Part II “This is not to suggest that listening is inferior to visual processing. It is, rather, to note that speaking/hearing and writing/reading are different modes of language and that poems that are imagined as operating more within the aural domain. . . “
Showing Vs. Telling, Part III “The page might be said to function reflexively: the poet interacts with the page in fashioning an aesthetic object; the reader in turn re-enacts this interaction with the page by regarding the aesthetic object in the proper way (much as one might regard a painting).”
Poetry In Exile Introduction to Pat Nolan’s Exile In Paradise (Nualláin House, 2017)
Report: Scenes From Life A group reading of Philip Whalen’s Scenes from Life at the Capitol including Alan Bernheimer, Norman Fischer, Steven Lavoie, Laura Woltag, Alastair Johnston, Tinker Green, Owen Hill, and Denise Newman.
Snyder’s Cold Mountain By Keith Kumasen Abbott A lecture for students at The Jack Kerouac School reworked as an essay and probably the most viewed essay of the Society’s to-date 91 posts. One of the most viewed posts on the blog.
At this point. . .Parole is publishing a post nearly every month and steadily accruing a readership numbering in the hundreds! Sound the alarm! Life jackets on deck!
Bathroom Art Galleries Ephemera nostalgia from the days of underground poetry and living on the edge (i.e., West Coast). Before someone else things it up: art gallery bathrooms are where some artists do their best work.
The [Attempted] Assassination of Ted Berrigan A reprint from the original scurrilous Life Of Crime. An account of Ted Berrigan’s residency at Langton Street in 1983, by the ZD Generation.
Gary Snyder’s Myths & Texts by Keith Kumasen Abbott Another incisive look at the work of Gary Snyder reworked from Abbott’s Kerouac School lectures. Another fav with readers of this blog.
now be clay in the ground by Mark Young The editor and publisher of that down under omnibus, Otoliths, tells the tale of smuggling rare and prohibited books in diplomatic pouches.
Lost And Found In Translation by Pat Nolan. The story of how a Quebecois poet/philosopher, Robert Hebért, and his early minimalist outing in the mimeo magazine, Blue Pig, ended up in the author’s basement archives, and the subsequent translation of said work as well as the narrative circumstance that unearthed his past.
Plagiarism and the Poetry of Ulalume González de León by John Johnson Ulalume González de León, winner of the prestigious Villaurrutia Award and the subject of numerous literary studies, whom Octavio Paz called “the greatest Mexicana poet since Sister Juana Inez de la Cruz,” wrote some of Mexico’s most original poetry.
The Poetry Reading Carl Wendt, autodidact, professional cynic, flaneur, conman, outlier outlaw, and last of the hardboiled poets actually attends a memorial poetry reading at which he is one of the scheduled readers. From Ode To Sunset, A Year in The Life of American Genius, Pat Nolan’s serial fiction of poets and poetry.
Rothenberg Poetry University A look at the importance of Rothenberg’s Poems for the Millennium series (as well as other anthologies compiled by the editor) as a teaching tool and platform for examining the diversity of world poetry.
Bromige Immortalized by Steven Lavoie A report on the publication celebration of David Bromige’s selected collected if wants to be the same as is with readings by Ron Silliman, Cole Swenson, Bob Perlman, among others.
Poetry Is A Crowded Room Attending the Cirque De Penumbroi, a poetry happening in the partially demolished Reed Hotel south of Market, is Carl Wendt, last of the hardboiled vigilante poets. From Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius. See Poetry Is A Crowded Room, Part 2 6/24/19
Some Assembly Required A review of Since When, Bill Berkson’s 2018 “Memoir In Pieces” from Coffee House Press.
How To Write A Preface Excerpts from Pat Nolan’s Ode To Sunset, a serial fiction about poets and poetry in not quite Frisco in the early years of the new century.
Bill & Lou, Part I by Tom Sharp A look at the relationship between Louis Zukofsky and William Carlos Williams
Bill & Lou, Part II “The extent of the friendship and mutual influence of Louis Zukofsky and William Carlos Williams is not sufficiently known. Williams’ autobiography records that the two were “good friends” but not that they read and criticized each other’s work with interest and a sense of common purpose from the day they met until Williams died.”
Wait. . .how did things get so out of hand? There must be more to life than this. But what if there isn’t?
Schools of Poetry, Part I A thorough delineation on the current schools of poetry (at least in the minds of the two acquaintances), from Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius.
Schools of Poetry, Part II The conversation continues to include the secret schools of poetry that no one ever hears of.
New To The Society’s Shelves Over the past year The New Black Bart Poetry Society has acquired either as review/gift/comp copies, subscription, and or diligent used bookstore browsing a fair but not overwhelming number of books to add to the Society’s shelves.
Into The Heart Of Wetness by Pat Nolan An account of Barbara Hemming and Maureen Owen’s cross country poetry road trip ending up on the flood ravaged West Coast as a wrap up to their tour.
The Anselm Hollo Challenge The New Black Poetry Society issued an essay challenge to its readers on the subject of Anselm Hollo and his poetry
The Poet In Love Carl Wendt wowed the audience at the Ian Blake Memorial Benefit by reading excerpts from his book length epic, Procreation. Afterwards, he was joined by SFPD Inspector G. Grace Niklia for a post reading tête-à-tête at Crepe Del Sol, a 24hr pancake house on Masonic, where he fell hopelessly in love with the police detective. Needless to say, she wasn’t interested. From Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius.
Bromige Was Here by Pat Nolan An Homage to Bromige on the tenth anniversary of his passing.
Poetry Is A Crowded Room, Part II “Poetry is a crowded room. Someone’s toes are bound to get stepped on.” From Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius.
Meditation In A Big Cabin by Pat Nolan A review of Ron Padgett’s latest from Coffee House Press.
I Remember Tom Clark by Pat Nolan. Remembering Tom Clark (a la Brainard) on the anniversary of his death
hard as nails by Carol Ciavonne Carol was one of the few with any guts to accept the Anselm Hollo Challenge
A Taxonomy of Poets Carl Wendt, poetry polymath and flaneur, has a genius, whether American or not, for finding patrons who will regularly invite him for dinner. From Ode To Sunset, A Year In The Life Of American Genius.
Montreal Mastermind A translation of two of Robert Hebert’s publicly performed poems by Pat Nolan
This Is How Legends Begin A festschrift in memory of Keith Kumasen Abbott with contributions by George Mattingly, Maureen Owen, Gloria Frym, Lani Abbott, and Persephone Abbott among others.
Years In The Making Interview with Pat Nolan on the motivation behind and the years it took to write his serial fiction, Ode To Sunset. “I had the notion, the urge to memorialize friends, poets, who had died. To accomplish that, without indulging in biography, I had to write about their element, which is poetry. That which gave them joy and sorrow. Because that’s what poetry does to poets. . . .”
Rene Taupin’s Andre Salmon by Tom Sharp André Salmon was important to the “Objectivists” because he, “like his friend Guillaume Apollinaire,” was among “the generation which devolved from Symbolism.” The methods which they “devolved” were similar to that of the “Objectivists.”
Well. . .the previous year was a little excessive what with sixteen posts, and without the benefit of foresight, who would have guess what a little bit of the plague and madness in high places would portend.
Blue Suede Shoes Redux; The Specimen Issue [Keith] Abbott embraced the mimeo magazine mystique with all its rebel outlaw underground overtones as a far seeing statement of a generation redefining the literary culture by pointing out as risible the inconsistencies of the Anglo-American academic establishment. Specimen included.
On The Use of Euphemism Euphemism (n) a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. Excerpt from Ode To Sunset, A Year in the Life of American Genius by Pat Nolan
Provincialism and The Gentrification of Anglo American Poetry, Parts I “The provincialism of contemporary poets represents a fragmentation based on social exclusion.” “Poetry has undergone gentrification in large part as a result of the workshop industry.”
Provincialism and The Gentrification of Anglo American Poetry, Part II Apparently the sinful self-indulgence of public neurosis and bad manners under the guise of “poet” (mostly male, and of the horndog variety) with its associated behavior is looked upon with disfavor, disgust, and eye rolls as has mostly always been the case.
Provincialism and The Gentrification of Anglo American Poetry, Part III “Socialization of culture devalues it as a form of social values which are then held to a standard and used as an admission price for exclusionary purposes.” —Hannah Arendt
The Poet As Cynic Carl Wendt, poet and literary factotum, still adjusting to being awarded the megabucks Dorian Pillsbury Prize in Poetry, finds himself hitchhiking along a deserted Northern California backroad highway. Excerpt from Ode To Sunset, A Year in the Life of American Genius by Pat Nolan
Never Apologize Never Explain (The Poetry Of Philip Whalen), Part II To resume, using Gary Snyder’s quote as the guiding principle for a discussion/rumination on the poet’s work, and his assertion that Whalen’s pastime, besides reading (addressed in the first installment of these notation), was writing and playing music.
Fogged In Frisco Carl Wendt, hardboiled poet and flaneur, aka the Bay Area’s Baudelaire, now homeless and down on his luck, muses on another aspect of his life whereluck has failed him: women—they can be delightful, and they can be dangerous. Excerpt from Ode To Sunset, A Year in the Life of American Genius by Pat Nolan
Whalen and Wieners: Eavesdropping On The Greats A brief unauthorized peek at correspondence between Philip Whalen and John Wieners from the late ‘50s, early ‘60s. Many thanks and appreciations to Messer’s Berkson and Abbott (now jogging funny bones in the hereafter) from whom this little slice of lit-ephemera was got.
The Education of Pat Nolan An Anniversary Memorial for Keith Kumasen Abbott, 1944-2019 by Pat Nolan with art by Ivan Suvanjieff.
Hello, I Must Be Going Part I by Steve Silberman During a brief period, from May to Sept of that year, Silberman kept a journal of his interactions with a significant American poet and Roshi at the Hartford Street Zen Center. As Steve states in his introduction to the journal, “I will try to remember here vivid things that Whalen says in the coming weeks of historical and personal interest, anything that strikes me. I will not attempt to make a complete record, but a graph of two minds moving, and rescue quanta of literary history that might otherwise slip away.”
Hello, I Must Be Going Part II by Steve Silberman On July 23rd, Steve interviewed Philip at Allen Ginsberg’s request for liner notes to Allen’s spoken word project, Recording History. The interview begun in Part I is continued here.
In Close Proximity, Part One by David Schneider Tensho David Schneider’s journal, Side Effect came about from the idea that the sayings and doings of Philip Whalen—Zenshin Ryufu —would be of interest to others. The journal takes place over a period of 18 months, towards the end of Whalen’s 12 years living in Zen Center housing, a period he called his “life of elegant retirement.”
In Close Proximity, Part Two by David Schneider Tensho David Schneider’s journal, Side Effect, came about from the idea that the sayings and doings of Philip Whalen—Zenshin Ryufu —would be of interest to others. It takes place during a golden decade (early 70s to early 80s) of the San Francisco Zen Center in what Whalen called his “life of elegant retirement,” and covers a period of 18 months.
This Heaven Where We Live As Music by Keith Kumasen Abbott Rounding out Philip Whalen Month is a previously published succinct and insightful review of The Collected Poems of Philip Whalen by Keith Kumasen Abbott who has authored numerous essay and lectures on the American poet and Zen monk appearing in this blog: Nothing Is Forever. Rhythm-A-Ning. Little Mag Art. A Diamond Wired For Sound.
Beyond Haiku Haiku has taken on a life of its own in the West, hybridized with lineation, free from the strictures of syllabic count while the practitioners insisting on arcane rules to establish rites of passage in an effort to maintain a borrowed esthetic purity.