Saturday, June 14, 2008

Roundup Pt 2.1: Hot Shots pt Deux Pt 2

Another yesterday arrival was Bill Pearlman's Inzorbital. At first glance this is an innocent-enough volume of poems put out by Duende in 1974, but the volume curates some interesting associations, to be explored below.

First, the book itself contains several interesting modifications. The envoy on the colophon "For Gus & Felice" is a good start to a good copy. This doesn't seem to be from either the stated 26 signed copies or the special 9 signed copies with an additional poem written in, but the inscription isn't bad, to say the least.

Where things get interesting is the back cover. I know absolutely nothing about graphology & it's uses, but there seems to be another inscription on the back cover in the same hand & pen. Of course, this could be featured on all copies of the book but my instinct is that it is unique. Very few letters from either selection are used in the same way in both sequences, but the capital G's from "Gus" & "Garden" seem rather unique & the lower-case t's throughout are dead on.

It's an interesting challenge to figure out exactly how to read this final, touching phrase, reminiscent perhaps of Melville's Army of Shadows:

I have decided
to Run before
the Shooting Starts.
You are invited
to the Spirit Garden
Opening Night --

Marilyn Kennedy

Then there is the name, Marilyn Kennedy, which could range from any number of real people to the humorous combination of Marilyn Monroe & JFK--Marilyn's would-be married name if she & JFK were to get hitched. The possibilities of what exactly all this indicates, if indeterminate, remains quite interesting. The phrase itself does not seem to appear anywhere via google.

VVhat attracted me to the Pearlman in the first place is that the front matter lists Inzorbital as issue 5 of Fervent Valley, a magazine that I had thought only had 4 numbers from Spring of '72 thru the Summer of '74. I thought I had completed the series a while ago, only to recently find out about this phantom 5th issue.

Fervent Valley issues 1, 2 & 3:

Fervent Valley, though technically short-lived, was as exciting & well-edited as any of the early 70s zines that are probably more famous. Each issue, including the fifth, inhabits a different size & style of binding. Issue one was edited by the conglomerate of Stephen Rodefer, Larry Goodell, Charlie Vermont, Bill Pearlman & Lenore Schwartz. Inside there is work from Allen Ginsberg, Ken Irby, Tom Clark, Bukowski, Fielding Dawson & Andrei Codrescu, along with the editors. Number 2 finds only Rodefer, Goodell & Pearlman at the helm but adds work by Burroughs, Lewis MacAdams & Summer Brenner along with another appearance from Bukowski & more work from the editors. By the time bright pink issue 3 rolls into town (Spring '73) Larry Goodell & Gus Blaisdell edit along with Lenore Schwartz (now) Goodell. Editors past & present are again represented but added to the mix are Tom McGrath, Tom Raworth & Larry Eigner. Removable artwork by Brian Leo is tipped into the rear, perhaps to get a fuller grasp of the piece, perhaps due to stapling oversight.

Issue 4:

The fourth issue features one of the better covers of the mimeograph era, designed by George Grosz. The issue is solely edited by Rodefer. The contents are perhaps the most star-laden. The issue is led by Charles Olson, followed shortly by a Frank O'Hara/Bill Berkson piece "Reverdy". Rodefer puts his own work between these two deceased heroes (Berkson is obviously alive) to round out the first three entries. Soon follow Phil Whalen, Anne Waldman, T.S. Eliot, Groucho Marx, Gregory Corso, Ford Madox Ford, Robert Creeley, Marcel "Duchamps", Michael McClure & Allen Ginsberg. Slightly less household contributors include names such as Valentino, (G) Young, Hirschman, Malanga, Mead, Leavitt, (S) Ortiz & the usual suspects of Rodefer, Goodell, Pearlman, Vermont.

Overall, issue four presents the best synthesis of editorial selection & jokiness to be seen in any of the issues of Fervent Valley, perhaps pointing to the editorial genius that informs Rodefer's Villon, issued a few years later.

* * *

The fun, however, is far from over. I cannot, at the moment, relocate where I read about the following dual-item. It was somewhere online digging through google searches of Rodefer, or perhaps somewhere else entirely. Surely there are other (potential) readers who might be able to square up the history, but I won't dally.

What follows below is both the official copy of the Winter-Spring 1969 double issue of the New Mexico Quarterly & the fugitive 'censored' mimeograph response, the New Mexico Quarter. Rodefer appears in both issues, "Susan's Stone Shoes" & "The Electrified World" in the official copy, "Ode to the University of New Mexico President and the Santa Fe Legislature" in the samizdat.

The verso of "The Quarter":

Without the details of the history to refer to, exactly what was censored from the main issue, & why, remains difficult to parse. For instance, the Michael McClure poem below, "Plume Ode," featuring the phrases "they spray from the dark cunt & cock" & "TO THE HUGE PICTURE OF CUNT AND FOOD" appears in both issues. One other McClure item, "On Beginning Romeo and Juliet" appears in the official number, while two others, "Hummingbird Ode" & "Me Raphael" surface in the censored copy. Interestingly, the most traditionally vulgar material in any of the McClure items was that listed above, from the poem appearing in both issues--seemingly not the reason for the season, so to speak. Along with Rodefer & McClure, Robert Creeley also appears in both numbers: "For A Valentine" in the friendly copy, "The Hole" in the after midnight version.

What we can learn in "General Editor" George Arms intro to what he describes as the last issue of NMQ (perhaps Rodefer killed it) is that the "special editor, Gene Frumkin, poet and teacher of creative writing at the University, has brought together a group of poems, stories, and critical essays that happily climax the long career of the magazine." Thus, the name of Stephen Rodefer is never attached in any of the issues to any sort of editorship. The 'censored' issue contains no editorial information whatsoever.

Things are partially illuminated by Rodefer's entry in the Quarter, "Ode to the University of New Mexico President and the Santa Fe Legislature." A closeup of the epigraph follows:

Here is the full poem, which you should be able to click on, as with many of my blog photos, in order to enlarge:

So I think it's safe to guess that this poem might be the crux of the whole issue. It would be hard to believe that the page excerpt from the last episode of Ulysses, part of Molly's glorious monologue, would have been cause for war in 1969--she jacks off a sailor into a handkerchief & keeps it. & it seems probable that Stephen retitled this work after the incident, whatever it was. But these are only some introductory details surrounding this interesting publication.

* * *

Bonus Pic: Robert Creeley's "The Hole" from the New Mexico Quarter:

You can hear Bob read this one thru the decades at PennSound, including twice in October of '66. It is clear that he thinks highly of the poem, from the fact that it shows up several times in several decades. Also, his placement of the work in his set list--once third to last, once last. At least one version seems to have another small page of text, making for yet another curious detail to today's explorations.


The Pearl said...

Good you found our Fervent Valley/Duende material. Riotous good times those...Marilyn Kennedy was an imaginal construct, as you guessed, incorporating MM and JFK and she appears in the flashes of bright heights in Inzorbital..

Rodefer's variation on NM Quarterly was based on an uproar about Lenore Kandel's Love/Lust poem...

You can find me and colleagues old and new at are beginning to gear up for another round....
All the best,
Bill Pearlman

larry goodell said...

a fervent hello & thanks for yr delving into our past here. lotsa fun! it's my 75th year as it is also for my friend Gino Sky who was doing Wild Dog at the same time I was doing duende which turned into fervent valley & back again . . .
check out my Poet & Artist Friends Photo Album (it's public) Albuquerque-Placitas area,New Mexico . . .