Friday, June 6, 2008

Six William Everson Lectures

at the University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh

Since the images above the cover are difficult to read, these are the titles of the lectures: Whitman, Emerson, and the Frontier San Francisco and Kerouac I've Seen You a Thousand Times The Poet and His Words The Poet as Priest The Poet and His Poem: "In All These Acts" Everson was the English Department's 1971 Panorama of the Arts lecturer. He allowed us (me and Terry Smith) to tape his lectures and then edit them for publication. Doug Flaherty's Road Runner Press is the publisher. Copyright date is 1972 by RAR. The issue information is: Summer/Fall 1971---Vol. III, no. 2/3 Did a William Everson Road Apple Review search. Found two archives holding a copy of this RAR/ although at this date there may be only one. Once there were three. Apparently all copies are privately held. The two archives are: - William Everson Collection from the Library of Peter Bartlett ..... at 309. line 12 - ..... for Guide to Barry Gifford Papers at [Box 43] [Folder 4] Opening words from each lecture: - "I suppose if you are trying to find the archetypal American poet you'd have to begin with Emerson, because in his essay on the poet he hewed out the core of what the American poet is, in essence. Whitman embodies a phenomenal instance of conception and reali- zation, turning in a kind of one-two stroke. Conception took a long time to be articulated." - "Kerouac was a phenomenon that—I never met Kerouac, and the reason is that although I was in the area when he was there, I was in a deep monastic phase in a monastery and I hadn't yet begun to emerge. I went into the monastery during 1951 and just about pulled the walls in around me for seven years. It wasn't until 1957 with the Evergreen Review issue of the San Francisco renaissance that the whole thing sprang into the open and— after that I began to get requests to read and I began to go out of the monastery and back onto the platform again, but by that time Kerouac had already left." - "Well son-of-a-gun. Here we are. Relaxed. Well this morning we spoke of something of the East Coast scene, I mean the West Coast syndrome, ha-ha. We tried to pinpoint some of the broader aspects of what happened in San Francisco in the late fifties. To pick up now and try to re-focus our attention— I'm speaking of myself—ah, to me this is a kind of penultimate moment—it's the last time I'll appear on this campus before tomorrow night when I give the big bang, as it were, when the poet truly emerges into his own dimension." - "It's a terrible thing to be a poet, but it's a visionary thing. . . . We have lost that. You know, I think the whole approach to poetry ought to be done a different way: much more mystically, much more archetypally, in a much more visionary way. We think so much of tech- nique now, the perfection, the objectivizing of our forms. We think almost nothing of the inner state of being a poet, which is where all the difference lies." - "I find this subject the most difficult of the topics I've had to expatiate so far. I think because of its depth more than lack of any consonance. The whole concept of priest is so deep and archaic, so primitive, and yet so extremely complex. It's one of those subjects that's easy to think up, but very hard to meet. And the more deeply you've gone into it the more awed you are before the imponderable mystery that's contained in that concept. At the bottom the archetype of the priest is the sacrficer, one who offers sacrifice for the people. At the very bottom of it there's a victim, and a dismemberment, and a kind of reunion of dismembered parts in a transcendent action. Originally by burning. You see this is simply a rite of renewal, a periodic ritual in which the old has come to a term and is immolated so that the new can be born. And out of this flows the idea of the priest as father, the ritualizer through whom new life is inseminated and engendered. But the ma- terials are bloody and the new is consummated in burning." - "The idea is to get the poet's impression of what he's done. This poem was written thir- teen years ago at least, and it's a pretty far reach back for it. But a poem if it's a good poem, should take us back into itself as its own verification." * Dana Gioia's remembrance: In Memoriam: William Everson ..... Rho00087

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