WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
and then... if one continues with LORINE NIEDECKER
if one continues with JACK SPICER
if one continues with ROBERT DUNCAN
if one continues with CHARLES OLSON
if one continues with RONALD JOHNSON
if one continues with JAMES MERRILL
and finally if one continues with LOUIS ZUKOFSKY and then announces that this list pretty much sums up what anyone really needs to know about American poetry in the Twentieth Century...
I was thinking about this because finally a biography of LOUIS ZUKOFSKY is about to appear: THE POEM OF A LIFE by MARK SCROGGINS and this afternoon I am going to walk down to 97 Chrystie Street a few blocks away from where I am sitting on this cold day after Thanksgiving, to see if the building where Zukofsky was born in 1904 is still there...
In the 60s I used to go into the Catholic Worker place on Christie Street to pick up copes of THE CATHOLIC WORKER to sell in front of St. Francis de Sales Church in Patchogue--- for the cover price of one penny.
But I have been thinking about ZUKOFSKY whose body of work is still mostly unknown but from what I am able to read is the one gorgeous bloom before the last flowering of that great list above, RONALD JOHNSON---
Maybe you have heard of ZUKOFSKY'S : "A" and then BOTTOM the two volumes on Shakespeare, the Catullus translations, the A USEFUL ART Essays and Radio Scripts on American Design, LE STYLE APOLLAINAIRE and PREPOSITIONS the collected critical essays in which he quotes from one of his favorite writers, HENRY ADAMS, writing about being a student at Harvard in THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS:
No one cared enough to criticize, except himself who soon began to suffer from reaching his own limits.
DO YOU GET IT??????
NO ONE CARED ENOUGH TO CRITICIZE
It is no accident that I quoted early on in this bog from WHITTAKER CHAMBERS... who people will discover was a good friend of Zukofsky's at Columbia...
By taking into your heart and brain the poetry of the above poets...