Kenneth Rexroth: February 23, 1965

The Poetry Center presents Kenneth Rexroth, reading translations as well his own selected works.

Originally Recorded By
San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco
Total Run Time
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  • Kenneth Rexroth remarks on what he will read (00:03)
  • Remarks on his translations of Pierre Reverdy's poems and gives a short background on Reverdy (01:36)
  • Remarks on his interests in a creativity seen in the comparison of Reverdy's "radical dissociation and reconstruction" to Surrealism's "free association"; he also remarks on "visonary experience" and a sense of "transport" and "subliminal experience" he sees in Reverdy's poems and his own (03:16)
  • Remarks on Stephane Mallarme's poetry, specifically "Un coup de des," as a source of this creativity and as an influence on his own poetry (10:05)
  • Remarks on Walter Conrad Arensberg and Gertrude Stein as other contemporary followers of this sense of creativity (13:42)
  • Introduces his long poem "A Prolegomenon to a Theodicy" (14:51)
  • from "A Prolegomenon to a Theodicy" (15:06)
  • Remarks on a section of the poem he will read, which Louis Zukofsky called a "nominative chant" (19:48)
  • Continues from "A Prolegomenon to a Theodicy" (20:04)
  • Remarks on repetition and recontextualization in his own poetry (21:34)
  • Remarks on narrative examples of the "dissociation and recombination" strategy (22:05)
  • Continues from "A Prolegomenon to a Theodicy" (23:17)
  • Remarks on "Phronesis" (26:40)
  • "Phronesis" (26:59)
  • Sound cuts out (30:45)
  • Continues "Phronesis" (30:51)
  • Remarks on "Phronesis" (31:09)
  • Continues "Phronesis" (31:27)
  • Remarks that he will now read his translations of Reverdy (33:33)
  • "Miracle" {Pierre Reverdy} (33:37)
  • "A Ringing Bell" {Pierre Reverdy} (34:08)
  • "I Keep Everything" {Pierre Reverdy} (34:38)
  • "Rainbow" {Pierre Reverdy} (35:47)
  • Remarks on the "idiom of a popular song" in Reverdy's "Perspective" (36:17)
  • "Perspective" {Pierre Reverdy} (36:41)
  • Remarks on work written to accompany Ornette Coleman's music, "Eight for Ornette's Music" (37:19)
  • "Eight for Ornette's Music" (38:31)
  • "Took" (42:13)
  • Asks if there are any questions (43:40)
  • Audience member asks if he has written or will read any new "American-type" poems (44:14)
  • Audience member asks if Rexroth would explicate Analytical Cubism as seen in the poetry he has read; also asks if he will explicate such with a poem (44:40)
  • Rexroth remarks that he will not explicate using a poem, as he feels to do so is to "destroy poetry" (45:07)
  • Offers a history of Analytical Cubism as seen in paintings and defines it as the "analysis of reality of the picture subject into components of a kind of irreducible character" (45:26)
  • Remarks on Cubist poetry and how his own translations of Reverdy are more "modernistical" than Reverdy's own poems (48:56)
  • Audience member asks if Rexroth might talk more about Reverdy (51:05)
  • Rexroth offers a short bio on Reverdy (51:10)
  • Audience member discusses the structure and formal basis of Rexroth's poems and translations and asks Rexroth if he would ever write in stanzas (53:38)
  • Rexroth comments on the non-issue of such a question (55:44)
  • "Another Spring" (57:52)
  • Remarks on Paestum in Italy (59:09)
  • "Golden Section" (59:52)
  • Audience member asks Rexroth if he has his book of Chinese translations with him (1:03:22)
  • Rexroth responds that he does not but will read something more recent (1:03:33)
  • Remarks on "This Night Only" (1:03:41)
  • "This Night Only" (1:03:57)
  • "An Easy Song" (1:05:03)

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