On Ted Berrigan’s Exuberant And Idiosyncratic Prose

Jordan Davis at Poetry Magazine:

Though there is less of Berrigan’s prose than his poetry, the best of it—his early journals, the collaged “interview” with John Cage from 1966, the Chicago Report and the Boston journal—has been crying out to be collected for decades. With the publication of Get the Money!: Collected Prose 1961-1983 (City Lights, 2022), edited by Berrigan’s widow, Alice Notley, their sons Edmund and Anselm Berrigan, and scholar Nick Sturm, readers already familiar with the pleasures of the self-made poet have a new, single-volume resource to consult. This great book stands alongside Berrigan’s Collected Poems (2007); On the Level Everyday (1997), his collected lectures; and Talking in Tranquility (1991), his collected interviews. The book may not teach readers how to interpret or analyze poetry in a way that will impress comparative literature professors, but every page offers a sense of what a living, noninstitutional poetry community looks and sounds like. Over the book’s more than 20-year span, we see when that community is doing well—attracting new recruits, producing new poetic forms—and when it’s under strain as consensus emerges and chance intervenes to support some members but not others, and money and attention accumulate at a slower rate.

more here.




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