Friday, May 30, 2008

Women of the 70s

HAIR-RAISING was one of the first books published by Kelsey Street Press. In the spirit of the anti-hierarchical times no editor is indicated. The contributors are Laura Beausoleil, Misha Berson, Karen Brodine, Cathy Colman, Patricia Dienstfrey, Sukey Durham, Judy Grahn, Joanna Griffin, Marina LaPalma, Cynthia MacDonald, Susan Maconald, Frances Mayes, Alicia Ostriker, Rena Rosenwasser, Susan Sherman, Margaret Allen Sloan, Roswell Spafford, Denise Taylor, Margaret Teague, Ulrike Birkoff, Rachel Rosenthal, Sylvia Simpson, Hazel Slawson, Barbara Smith and Nancy Buchanan. I can still remember Karen's excitement about the book which begins with a series of Samson and Delilah vignettes and ends with endpapers with into which actual hair was embedded. (Kelsey Street, 1978)

Gesualdo is one of my favorite books by Lyn Hejinian. Completely revelatory when I first read it, probably not long after it was published in 1978. This and HAIR-RAISING as well as books by Barrett Watten and many others show the tendency -- in a good way that has continued into the present -- of writers to be publishers and to publish themselves.

I think this picture of Anne Waldman and Bernadette Mayer changed my life -- maybe several times. It is in The Angel Hair Anthology.

I remember meeting Summer Brenner when she first blew into town from New Mexico at some party. I was still an undergraduate at Cal. Five minutes or so older than me, I perceived her as one of the "made poets" of the 70s. This is her photo from From The Heart to the Center. (The Figures, 1977)

I seem to remember running into Gloria Frym in an elevator at a group reading at SF MOMA in the 70s in full cowgirl dress. I was probably similarly decked out and we might have had a duel or something. But here she is in her early 80s mode, which might be described as cotton waif, on the back of her 1982 Figures book Back to Fourth.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CAMBRIDGE M'ASS by Bob Grenier, a wonderful poster that graced the walls of many poet homes in the 70s and 80s.(Tuumba, 1978)

Alice Notley gracing my own home, in fact my bed, after a reading I did with her at the Poetry Center in 1984. I was pretty happy to be able to read with Alice and stunned to find her in my house.

The crowd at Leslie Scalapino's residency at Langton. I think this might be 1988. People I recognize: Bob Gluck, Frances Jaffer, Mark Linenthal and Beverly Dahlen. David Levi Strauss is in the back row.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This is the audience of a reading Bob Perleman gave at Canessa Park Gallery in I think 1986. There must have been a co-reader but I am not sure who it was. 1986 was when I stopped running the series and talked Spencer Selby into running it. Jim Hartz, Ben Friedlander and I started it in 1984 to replace the one at the bakery at Cole and Carl that took over from the Grand Piano or at least that is my memory of the lineage. I think an actual physical mailing list was passed from hand to hand. There was a certain symmetry there as I was the last reader at the bakery series along with Stephen Rodefer. Here is an attempt at some of the names:

Back row: Bob Perleman with hands up, Krishna Evans, David Melnick, Ron Silliman also with hands up, Carla Harryman, Ben Friendlander. Middle row: Sandra Meyer (or at least I think that was her name. I do remember that she last ran the series at the bakery) and her partner, a few people I can't remember, Dan Davidson, a woman I can't remember, Thoreau Lovell, Pat Reed. Next row: a man I don't recognize, Jerry Estrin, Leslie Scalapino. Front row: Two women I can almost remember, Beverly Dahlen, Melissa Riley and Alan Bernheimer.

These are pictures I took last Sunday at my reading with Brenda Iijima and Tyrone Williams. Colleen Lookingbill has currently taken over the Canessa Park series from Avery Burns. My digital camera technique makes it more difficult to make out the people in this later shot, but here is a try at some of the recognizable faces: In the back: Jordon Jones, Suzanne Dyckman, Andrew Joron, Standard Schaefer, a man I don't recognize, (ah, I am told he is Zack Finch, a poet and scholar visiting from Buffalo), Rob Halpern, Tanya Hollis. In the middle: a woman I can't make out, Sarah Larsen, David Brazil, Erika Staiti, a man I don't know but a lot of people were talking to, (and this turns out to be Francois Luong, see the comments, who I now feel I know), Jerrold Shiroma, Eleni Stecopoulos and Tyrone Williams. Next row: Nick Robinson, Kit Robinson, Erica Lewis, Rusty Morrison, Brenda Iijima. Front row: Jeanne Heuving and Taylor Brady.

Two differences that come to mind are that the ages of the people in the 1986 shot, but for David Melnick and Bev Dahlen, who are a bit older, seem to me to be in a slightly narrower range. Also, and this seems like a bigger difference, I don't see any people of color in the older picture.

It would be great if anyone with names to add or correct could comment or contact me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Poets in 1984 at a restaurant bar on Washington Square in San Francisco after a group reading at Intersection when it was on Union Street. I think you are seeing the back of Steve Benson, then Barrett Watten, Leslie Scalapino, Ted Pearson, Jim Hartz and then I am not sure until we get to Bev Dahlen.

Barry and I. Same night.

Ben Freidlander, Dan Davidson, Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy behind them, Stephen Rodefer's back, Kit Robinson facing forward. This was taken at Jerry's and my house on Nob Hill at the going away party for Jessica Grim in 1991.


I will be reading with Brenda Iijima and Tyrone Williams
Sunday May 25th, 3pm
Canessa Park
708 Montgomery
Ssn Francisco CA 94111

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ron Silliman and Nada Gordon outside of Langton Arts in maybe 1984? I think this was at a talk by David Bromige.

Me wearing the usual vintage clothes of the time, having the usual illusions. Picture taken by Stephen Rodefer at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. What could I have been thinking?

The talk now seems to be called Re Vision.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I have given myself repetitive stress, wildly typing the past into the talk I am giving for the SPT Aggression panel. The talk was called "Outlaws, Lone Wolves and Made Poets: Bay Area Poetics from the Seventies to the Present" but might now be called "Re Vision." I have been also turning my house upside down looking for various items, including postcards and flyers for events. I found myself explaining yesterday to Brent and our volunteer Lina that we heard about events through postcards in the olden days and that part of running a series was making the postcards, buying the stamps, printing the lables, sending the postcard etc. Brent pointed out that people would have had to print their blogs back then and I agreed that that is how it was.

My talk does not focus that much on Jerry but for some reason the items that I am finding do. I think he is haunting this effort. This image is from the cover to the videotape of the group reading and memorial for Jerry Estrin that occurred at SPD when it was on San Pablo -- well before I worked there (here) on June 27th 1993. Jerry had organized the reading of his book Rome, A Mobile Home down to who would read what part but he suddenly died just before the event. Several people accidently showed up at SPT when it was on Guerrero and 24th instead of at SPD that day, which was very hot, so we waited for them. Readers included myself, Lyn Hejinian, Norma Cole, Ron Silliman, Barrett Watten, Carla Harryman, Leslie Scalapino, Norman Fischer and Jean Day, with an audiotape from Steve Benson.

Friday, May 09, 2008

"Aslant the sea he converts a survival manual, a coolness
of mind barely suggesting his life's ardent muteness."

Jerry Estrin, from "Frank O'Hara," A Book of Gestures, Sombre Reptiles, 1980

"called Poem of the End

four evenings in a row
now with a bridge in the distance

I came upon by chance

called Poem of the End

blue seven like this
hazed: nothing but the printed lines"

Michael Palmer, "from C", Acts 5, 1986

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Vanishing Cab #3, 1979

Christine Zawadisky
Ken Wainio
Jerry Ratch
Nanos Valaorits
Anne Nelson
Laura Moriarty
Marc Lecard
Jean-Pierre Duprey (translated by Marc Lecard)
art by Bruce Hutchinson

from "Sandy Koufax" by Jerry Estrin

"He grew up palpitating above a howl of moss, his fastballs were little creatures curtaining the scientific hungry nails -- how to be left handed like a kite and still simply downstairs?...

Yet, o song, a light had been expecting a hammer, it locked an ouce of pain in his picture window, increased the hydraulic seriousness of the doctor, and circled him with an autobiography already lashed to his wrist, like a basement. He had to throw in America.

And now 1978 pulls up in a dawn."

from "Ballad of the Blue Light Bar" by Laura Moriarty

"At sunrise she rose as always
In sleep she thought we lose our lives
And so refusing sleep
she wandered in her slip
drak gray rayon dawn
smoothed over thighs stung
as if from running or dancing
a long time.
It was hot when she went in
Hotter still as she reentered the bar."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Working on my talk for the Aggression panel at SPT coming up on May 31st has caused me to think about Jerry Estrin. Today is his birthday. He would have been 61.

My talk is called "Outlaws, Lone Wolves and Made Poets: Bay Area Poetics from the Seventies to the Present" but already has an alternate title -- which will probably change -- and seems so far to be mostly autobiography. I will be posting images and possibly documents here relating to the talk.

The conference, organized by Stephanie Young, Chris Chen and Cynthia Sailers, has several other panels with a stellar line-up of folks and should be really interesting!

Meanwhile, here is Jerry Estrin, who died in 1993, in the early 80s and here also are both of us from around the same time.