Wednesday, April 22, 2009

what is today's beauty? - c. 1970

These are the opening lines of 'Quand le Grand Foyer Descend Dans les Eaux,' a section of Robert Duncan's anti-war Passages. In 1982 Duncan went to Buffalo to read poems mostly from the "Regulators" sequence of Passages, published in Ground Work II: In the Dark.

Duncan began with a nearly 18-minute preamble--a talk about the imagination, nationhood, Christendom and Dante's Divine Comedy, Ludwig Wittgenstein, being a "poet of the spirit", being a "Christian non-Christian," language mysticism, and prayer. He ended with what he called a "sermon" (21 minutes).

Someone at Buffalo had the presence of mind to record this event - and now the recording has been added to PennSound - and (thanks to the amazing Jenny Lesser) it's been segmented into individual portions and poems.