David Berkson


Where You're At: Poetics & Visual Art

by Poltroon Press (Poetry, Drama & Literary Criticism Books)

Literary Nonfiction. Poetry History & Criticism. Art. These eight interviews-with Jerome Rothenberg, Robert Duncan, Robert Bly, Michael McClure, Robert Creeley, George and Mary Oppen, Bill Berkson, and David Meltzer-were conducted in the mid-1970s and constitute a mapping of American poetry during these dramatic years when a series of major alternatives were being opened in poetics. The conversations look at the relationships between poetry and other disciplines, focusing above all on the intense exchanges between contemporary art and the work and writings of these poets. Power discusses "deep image" and ethnopoetry with Rothenberg, subjective verse and myth with Bly, and lyrical philosophy and Objectivism with the Oppens. He also looks at the central role of West Coast Expressionism, collage and assemblage, focusing on the centricity of artists such as Hassel Smith, Corbett, and Jess in Duncan's work, the dramatic impact of Abstract Expressionism on the poetics and writing of Creeley, the impact of Pollock and Surrealism on McClure, the presence of Herms and Berman in L.A. and the collaborations with Semina in his conversation with Meltzer, and the fluid and vital exchanges that were going on between abstract and figurative artists and the New York School of poets in his discussion with Berkson. The conversations bring us close to the ways in which contemporary art impacted so significantly on the work of these poets. Rich with anecdote, personal history, and sharp insights, this is an invaluable resource for students of modern American literature.
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