Saturday, February 27, 2010

Aimless Reading: Anthologies, Part 5 (The Sullen Art)

The Sullen Art
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Ossman, David
The Sullen Art

I am pretty sure I bought this at 7th St. books in New York. I put it in the anthology section of the library because it sort of seems like an addendum to the NAP anthology -- it consists of brief transcriptions of radio interviews with most of the same people -- again, mostly guys, with the exception of Levertov. I have never seen another copy of it, though I am sure they are not rare. One of the first times I ever got together with Robert Creeley, who is the poet reading on the cover, he mentioned this book to me. I don't remember in what context, probably just recalling something someone said in one of the interviews.

from The Sullen Art

from an Interview with Keneth Rexroth

They [the New American Poets] are the products of the McCarthy-Korean War period, and a period in which organized society in America was profoundly nihilistic. People talk about the "nihilistic revolt" of these writers–well, like breeds like. We lived through a period of political nihilism in high places, and it produced its opposite number, and, of course, its opposite number was very similar to itself, as is always the case in political action and reaction.


rdeming said...

That strikes me as a condescending title. Who was the editor?

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

David Ossman was the editor -- all of the interviews are transcriptions of a radio program he produced in the late fifties and early sixties. I can't remember his logic for choosing it, but he said the title came from Dylan Thomas.

Michael Kelleher, Buffalo, NY said...

"I should like to say that the title, "The Sullen Art," has no pejorative connotations. It is taken from a well-known poem by Dylan Thomas and seemed right to me for the reason that "sullen" comes from the latin "solus" –– alone. These poets, and all poets, despite their contacts with the word, are ultimately alone. One creates, after all, by one's self."

Not very convincing...