Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Aimless Reading: The R's, Part 6.1 (Kenneth Rexroth)

American Poetry in the Twentieth Century
Rexroth, Kenneth
American Poetry in the Twentieth Century

Purchased used, either at Rust Belt Books or at 7th Street Books in NYC. I can't remember which. I am inclined to believe the latter, as I have a vague recollection of acquiring it before I left for Buffalo.

It's funny. I have an unusually clear view of path that Rexroth took into my consciousness and how my understanding of him clarified and changed over time.

I think I first read about him in a biography of Kerouac. In it he was described more as a Marxist political figure with many cultural interests. I think it said he was a translator. But he was definitely portrayed as being older than, outside of, and inferior to the Beats with which he surrounded himself.

I then remember reading about him as an important translator. I think I bought this book around that time and got to read some of his opinions on various poets.

Later still, in graduate school, I became aware of the central role he played among the Berkeley renaissance poets.

Still later I read about all the stuff with Creeley and so on and how this at first turned everyone against Creeley and then later turned those same people (Levertov and Duncan, especially) against Rexroth.

So the movement in my head is of a a marginal figure to a central figure to a marginal figure once again.

Ok...I have rush to work. Until next time, dear readers...

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