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Issue Details: First known date: 2023... 2023 Essential Gossip : Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan and U.S.-Australian Poetics
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'In 1985, when the bulky anthology Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania (first published in 1968) was printed in a new edition, it was advertised with the curious dust jacket recommendation: ‘hailed by the Los Angeles Times Book Review as one of the hundred most recommended American books of the last thirty-five years’. The volume’s inclusion on this list is remarkable, for, as an anthology of world poetry, it is not in any simple or traditional sense an ‘American book.’ Its opening sequence, titled ‘Origins and Namings,’ includes selections drawn from Central Australian Arrernte song cycles, passages of the Chinese I Ching and text from a shrine to Tutankhamun, all carefully organised to mirror the narrative and themes of the Biblical genesis myth (5-45). But for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the anthology’s status as an ‘American book’ rests on the credentials of collection’s poet-editor, Jerome Rothenberg, who not only selected and arranged these foreign texts, but appended each with his own copious annotations and explanatory notes. Indeed, as Rothenberg contends in a Foreword to the collection, it is from his position as an anthologist that he rescues various religious or anthropological works, claiming them for genre of poetry. His insight, as one reviewer puts it, was twofold: that ‘poetry could be drawn from ritualistic experiences, chants, incantations, and shamanic visions that originated in Africa, Asia, Oceania, or within Native American groups’ and that ‘cutting-edge (American) avant-garde poetic advances (find) unexpected resonances in these ancient texts’ (Marmer). John Vernon concurs, describing Rothenberg’s anthology as having ‘all the earmarks (…) of a search for land, that is, a search for America, for an American tradition’ (825). For Rothenberg, contemporary American poetry must act as a creative archaeology of geography and origins: U.S. poets, he suggested, were not only reckoning with their present or future, but also re-staging their relation to the history of world poetry.'  (Introduction)


  • Epigraph: Very distressing to the anthropologist would be the aftermath of a chat between Allen Ginsberg and an Aboriginal poet. –Robert Duncan, ‘Warp and Woof’, 1976

    I have metrical visions of Sydney in which the regular thump of the iambic is broken only by the engine-noise from the planes bringing another American visiting poet. –Martin Harrison to Robert Adamson, 1981

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Cordite Poetry Review Dedication no. 108 1 February 2023 25913159 2023 periodical issue poetry

    'We came about this issue’s theme by dumping loved words into a shared document: nouns, verbs, phrases and onomatopoeia that stirred a shared love of intimacy with language, of play and tricksterism. It came organically to us to follow the ones we especially adored through to their etymological origins, excavating what has been evaded over time, what surprises were nested in a patina of use. As poets, we liked travelling these pathways of speech, as much evolutionary biographies of language, as they were a kind of epistemic cypher for the logics of empire, historied English. It was telling that devotion reappeared as dedication’s close friend and placeholder, an almost-malapropism that gave way to a network of linkages, each becoming the other’s obverse at nodes in a web of quotes, synonyms and citations that enfleshed the theme.' ( Lou Garcia-Dolnik and Luke Patterson : Editorial introduction)

Last amended 16 Mar 2023 09:45:52 Essential Gossip : Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan and U.S.-Australian Poeticssmall AustLit logo Cordite Poetry Review