Thursday, October 21, 2010

Letters to Cid Corman

7/16/71

Dear Cid,
             We got a place on the Cape. We'll be leaving the 7th of August. My aunts, Dolores' mother are footing most of the bill, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for that. Yes, the children need to get out of this city. My aunts worry a great deal about the neighborhood, cautioning me always not to let the children out alone, which of course we wouldn't think of doing. If only in a year or two we could get away from the city - for good! how nice just to open the screen door, go to the yard - how nice evening time, sit on the porch, look up at the stars - not sentimental, just simply being human.
I feel now more than ever the solution of my last moments depends upon my getting away from the artificial. I see clearly the structures of The Prefiguration, The Triune (complete), and the final movement that resolves.
On my vacation I'll take only Dante, my only book - still feel the summation of my work lies with the Commedia.
Strange how one's poems group themselves only in the end to reappear continuously as complete structure - the crown the last effort toward a realization of good workmanship.
Take care, Frank

9/6/71
Dear Cid,
Strange that at Cape Cod one feels melancholic over the dying of summer, but here it's different: you can't wait for Autumn, winter we empty the streets, rid them of the stench the fifth the impossible oppressiveness. - wish there were some way for me and mine to stay away for a year at least -
This Autumn along with my Dante work - I intend to study seriously the Upanisahads, only with the Sankaracharya commentaries I was able to get a copy of his commentary of the Brahma-Sutra (a long work some 900 pages) - I remember they refer to him as the St. Thomas Aquinas of India.
Well I certainly look forward to reading your essay on The Prefiguration - you along with Will & Clayton are probably the only one who cares. I've given another manuscript to Eric - Quadrifarium (longer than Prefiguration - almost 300 pages) - hope things go well enough that he'll finally decide to do it.
Take care, Frank

4 comments:

  1. "On my vacation I'll take only Dante, my only book - still feel the summation of my work lies with the Commedia."

    Samperi's devotion to Dante is remarkable (and moving). How many contemporary poets base a poetry & poetics on a single-minded devotion to one classical text? Not many, I think. And that may account for a lot of the current superficiality out there.

    I sort of had the same reverence for Aquinas in my youth: I recall giving myself once the task of reading the entire "Summa" in one summer. Which I almost did. Even brought the "angelic doctor" with me to the steel mills where I worked at the end of my academic year, reading page after page whenever I had a spare hour or so.

    I wonder why (or, more importantly, how) I've lost that youthful capacity to be true to one text, one vision. Time was when Aquinas was the world, universe & heaven to me.

    This Corman post brought it all back: for which thanks,Claudia.

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  2. Conrad,
    Thank you for your honest response.
    My father's dedication to his studies was always an inspiration to me. In reading these letters to Cid brings the same inspiration back that I remember when I was younger.

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  3. I was there in Manhattan this same 1971 summer visiting (...) who had a cold-water walk-up at
    89 East 2nd St ...
    NOW I am finding out why no one answered my knock-on-the door...
    y'all were "on the Cape"

    while (...) and I were sweating in that NYC August Heat!

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  4. Hi Ed,
    Where ya been... yes, NYC has one of the most brutal summers I have ever experienced!
    Those years growing up on the lower east side with no air conditioner, temp at 98 degrees with the humidity at 100%.
    Crazy!

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