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Spanning four decades of meditation on the avant-garde in poetry, art, and philosophy, the essays collected in The Fire reveal Robin Blaser's strikingly fresh perspective on "New American" poets, deconstructive philosophies, current events, and the state of humanities now. The essays, gathered in one volume for the first time, include commentaries on Jack Spicer, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Mary Butts, George Bowering, Louis Dudek, Christos Dikeakos, and J. S. Bach.
Blaser emerged from the "Berkeley Renaissance" of the 1940s and 1950s having studied under legendary medieval scholar Ernst Kantorowicz and having been a major participant in the burgeoning literary scene. His response to the cultural and political events of his time has been to construct a poetic voice that offers a singular perspective on a shareable world—and to pose that voice alongside others as a source of countermemory and potential agency. Conceived as conversations, these essays brilliantly reflect that ethos as they re-read the cultural events of the past fifty years.
List of Illustrations
PART I POETICS
The Fire (1967)
The Stadium of the Mirror (1974)
Poetry and Positivisms (1989)
The Recovery of the Public World (1993)
Among Afterthoughts on This Occasion (1993)
out of the velvet—the denim—the straw of my mind (1999)
The Irreparable (2003)
PART II COMMENTARIES
The Practice of Outside (1975)
Imaginary Letters by Mary Butts: Afterword (1979)
George Bowering’s Plain Song (1980)
The Violets: Charles Olson and Alfred North Whitehead (1983)
“Mind Canaries” (1986)
“My Vocabulary Did This to Me” (1987)
Infinite Worlds: The Poetry of Louis Dudek: Introduction (1988)
The “Elf” of It (1992) 283 Preface to the Early Poems of Robert Duncan (1995)
“Here Lies the Woodpecker Who Was Zeus” (1995)
Bach’s Belief (1995)
Love Will Eat the Empire: A Commentary on the Essays of Robin Blaser
Works by Robin Blaser
Works about Robin Blaser
Acknowledgments of Permissions
Robin Blaser is Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University. Among his many books are The Holy Forest (UC Press), Pell Mell, and Syntax. Miriam Nichols is College Professor at University College of the Fraser Valley and editor of Even on Sunday: Essays, Readings, and Archival Materials on the Poetry and Poetics of Robin Blaser.
"In his exquisite articulations of the flowers of associational thinking, Robin Blaser has turned knowledge into nowledge, the 'wild logos' of the cosmic companionship of the real."—Charles Bernstein, author of Republics of Reality: 1975-1995
"This is a landmark publication in American poetics."—Peter Gizzi, author of Some Values of Landscape and Weather
" Blaser is a fine poet and a superb representative of a tradition that is still undervalued. His work is very important."—Charles Altieri
The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry's Lifetime Recognition Award, Griffin Trust