Saturday, December 24, 2011

A letter to Frank from Will Petersen, 1967

wonderful! you have a dash in place of the date!!!

Monday, 27 Aug 67

Dear Frank,
                   a letter from you and also a good one from Walter Hamady in Madison, Wisconsin. It's good
news that even before finishing your letter I came here to sit down, correspond, eagerly. Ami and I were
having coffee when the mail came. We'd played catch, as a way to wake up, get a rhythm going. It was good.
                    Immediately after writing you I began working, and, as always happens, all sorts of little things went right and there were good "coincidences". For one, I made myself a bowl of Japanese noodles in broth (soba) ) (for the first time in the US) and watched the Japanese ALL Star Baseball game, and a letter came to me from Ami's younger brother. For me, simply, it was relating -- and the dream I had last night was good too.
                     Ami and I had a good long talk too, during the course of which she quoted you, saying:
as Frank says, poets don't belong in workshops.
                     In any case, somehow I've broken out of the not-caring, tired, what's-the-use, all's meaningless state I've been in for so long.
                     But now what? Do I want to explain? I suppose this is our modern curse.
.....

During the game a man hit a triple and the pitcher smiled. The American broadcaster noted this and the American playing with a Japanese team commented that this was something he could never accept -- that the pitcher should be angry, that it was inconceivable that he was not, and therefore the smile was insincere, phoney, untrustworthy. It is , if one accepts the western, or American basis. As I watched and listened, I smiled - or noted myself smiling, and I was feeling good. (I'm tired of this talk of loss of face, as though American anger isn't also concern with loss of face.) Anyway I felt light. (Think of the smiles on ancient sculptures, in early Christian painting or medieval sculpture, in old oriental works. In art history it is referred to as the "archaic smile", meaning it is primitive and early on the progress & evolution value scale -- that is, those guys didn't really know how to sculpt or paint realistic expressions.
                      If it takes less muscles to smile than to frown, it would seem the smile is lighter, and more natural. Anyway, I smiled, and went back to work.
.......

I am definitely leaving the school after this year, knowing that I cannot teach -- except for drawing (but I couldn't get a job teaching that), for teaching drawing is good seeing-exercise for me. I also knew, as I 've always known but have tried, how I 've tried, as that I can't be part of an academic community, artist's community, etc. I also know I'll never sell enough to exist by my work, and that the truer the work the less chance of gaining income from it. Whatever I sell will only partly pay for the high costs of materials.
As for the city, I've got to be near the city to be able to buy the papers, printing inks, papers, brushes, gum arabic, acids and other things I need, for I have these cumbersome stones, this heavy press....Since I do make objects I also need from time to time to be with fellow objects, to look and be nourished, to meet my friends..., as you need to meet Dante. So the painter envies the poet, who seems purer--who doesn't seem to be so saddled, doesn't seem so tied to place by need for materials. Saddest seems the sculptor, Sadder still, the architect.
I'm happy to receive your letter, and for me it is joy that my letter prompted it. I feel complete agreement with it--FEEL, because I feel "right", honest and myself; feel true. FEEL, also, because the whole of me accepts, agree, but I cannot say THINK. I am not a thinker, or, perhaps, more accurately, my thoughts form themselves more accurately in the images I make, in the colors I place, than in words. I can visualize shapes that eliminate conflict, but words return us to it. So, when you say "The conflict between you and me in this: you see the community solution (that is, it isn't the State, etc..........)....." I don't recognize myself.

That at core, at center, however one wants to put it (already I feel troubled by verbal idioms) we are not in conflict is why we have been friends for so long and continue to be, and that the friendship is not broken by oppositions. Meanwhile we wear clothes, buy shoes, earn money for food, seek solutions, choose toothpastes...and "glad to hear you had a nice trip" or any other statement can be cause for argument. (God, after all, is a word, and an English word at that. In praise of God. Yea! But no, perhaps when someone else says it. No art even existed that was not religious, I said to Ami, but then what does each person mean by religion? So I am in agreement with "God is dead" and at the same time reject it completely, utterly--absolutely out of the question, an impossibility: if God is eternal, etc., then God is dead is too ridiculous a statement to even think about--something else is dead, if anything. And if religion had nothing to do with art, or if art replaced, etc then it's not my religion.
                The difference between one bowl and another is that one is in praise of God, is religious, and the other not. All the discussion of shape, clay body, glaze, form, curve, lift, sit is finally irrelevant---and yet not.
               If one cannot speak of a bowl as religious, or of a painting of nothing but persimmons or a spray of bamboo as religious painting, then it is not what I mean by religion. If only icons or representations of saintly figures are religious, I want no part of that religion. I know you agree, even if you wrote back in argument, for your work is certainly an example. But how can I explain to someone that a poem of yours, take for example:

the street the reflection
the window
the waking
the backyard
snow
moon

                  is religious (and not a "landscape" poem, or a "still life" or "a slice of life" or a "scene" or a "decoration" or a "mood" or whatever) while so-and-so's full of Christ, God, love, Heaven, soul and other words is not at all religious? I can't. One either sees or doesn't. As fa as I'm concerned. I 'm not a teacher or missionary. Though I wish I could get people to see.
                   My sister once said to me, why do you sing sad songs (not unlike Zukofsky advising you to stop writing sad poems and to write happy poems)--but I was not sad, nor was I joyful, unless we redefine both words. So Hasegawa always said I'm sad-happy or happy-sad when asked how he felt. Maybe joyful-sorrowing or sorrowing-joyful would have been better, but English was not his language, and not being a poet I translate these words. As I suppose you, working with words and concerned with their precision, cannot, or would not. Likewise, looking at a visual equivalent of the above, I, concerned with just the right shape, color, form would not, could not, alter what I saw, but would reject. But Hasegawa tried his way to get away from the everyday dualisms. So, there is sorrow and sorrow, joy and joy. Or, as you put it to me:
"Your notion of joy is therefore to me a middle class sentiment." You underline notion, so I suppose you would disagree with the above and say, no, Will, there isn't joy and you, but only joy, an absolute, a single definition, but there are false notions and middle class etc distortuons--I suppose you would say that, and I suppose agreement again.
                    So, "don't write sad poems, write happy poems" is really irrelevant. A smile when the opposition hits a triple of of you may be a social smile, may be a false smile, may be deceitful, but it may also be true--it may be religious.
                     But when the work goes (or comes), how good, how true, how right. And the truest test is perhaps when I sit down, look at it (someone else looking at it might find it depressing, sorrowful, sad or whatever) feel quiet joy, feel true--if it is in praise of , what else can one feel? I've had those times, and always I've found myself feeling:now I can die.
                   Or, maybe if one put it: now I can meet my Maker--maybe that would be better, a better way to put it.
                   At that moment all is true, I'm physically alone, but feel isolated, alone, lonely, sad--nor is it what we usually call happy, joyous. It is joy, yes, and sorrow, yes. But not heel-kicking Eureka, not "Boy o Boy! I've got to show this to somebody", not "Boy am I good"--joy, but now of that. Maybe not even smile.
                 I suppose the archaic smile seems "primitive" because art critics and historians dislike the ambiguity, neither happy nor sad smile, so it must be the artist's inability to accurately portray emotion and expression. No one considers that the artist did succeed in doing just what he intended doing.
                  At the same time, Hasegawa's work was never as good as he was--I was at his deathbed and know the spirit of the man. I know Murray Jones died an awakened, a saved, man--meanwhile, there's his widow, his children, meanwhile there's his beautiful work which is stacked up unwanted...At the same time there's the dirty man, the ugly man, the conniving man, who does beautiful, does pure work---because there's that purity in him, but here we are with masks, clothes, layers, overgrowth, undergrowth, parasitic growth (even inside us) and all is very complex, and the language we use if full of "kill" words and "pay load" and "pays off"....
                So, we'll argue from time to time, which is okay. We'll do another portfolio--I don't know when. Right now I've got to keep on with solving, or trying to solve, the color work, the large prints, I working on--and the work is full of contradictions. "Thinking" blocks me. I falter when I try to figure it all out or plan it first or justify it it or think in any way--I've got to go ahead, bumble my way through, error after error, and then when I'm done sit and look at the result in amazement, because it is incredibly complex in the way it works out--and after it's done I can find the most complex mathematical, for example, relations, and it seems inconceivable that is "wasn't planned" or thought out. In any case our ways differ, are complementary. Opposite poles.

I'd better go down to work. (Speaking of place, I do need daylight. Going down into the dark basement, working by artificial light, is no good.) Final word: Whenever I am positive I'm leaving Columbus and the school, that's exactly the time I can stay--or stay or go, all the same. Then I return to that state I was in in Oakland when I said: "I've got to get to Japan, I have to. It's the most important thing in my life. But, if I don't go, that's okay." And everyone looked at me thinking I made no sense.

Yours ever,
Will
(good to get a good letter from you!)

Will Petersen and Frank Samperi letters would make a great book.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What Shape Sound by John Phillips, 2011


One comes to
places curious
like years ago
recognizing
faces there
that never were
----------------------------

How still the
wind not
in the leaves is
not moving just
now it was
fallen so that
dark between
each makes
still green
light leaves
away falling no
closer to see
--------------------------

Less your face in
the morning
than the face in the
morning you
see
           thrown
cold
           water does
not make
feel
           or wet hands
dry
-------------------------

We talk thinking the words say
what we want the silence
to know we do not understand
ourselves to be
-----------------------------

Going out
to see the moon
is part of seeing it

Remembering
it inside
is another
----------------------------

It is outside the wind I hear
in here listening to not a sound
other than what is heard
not listened to     rain can be
heard   not yet fallen    it will
------------------------------

The room
we are in
is not the same
room for each
of us      here
-----------------------------

This book is done by Skysill Press, Sam Ward, UK

Phillips has discovered the fact that words, like all other things - those which are natural around us,
as well as the things/symbols that we create for our own convenience - have a life of their own.
He has respect for that simple, and usually ignored, fact.
-Theodore Enslin, First Intensity

Thursday, December 8, 2011

SAMPERI'S DIAGRAM by Clayton Eshleman











The paradise of the Frank Samperi diagram,
showing poets how to get through. Can you believe it,
I said to Carol Berge, on the sofa beside me,
she was twisting her hands in something on her lap,
"I am unsure." So I investigated,
spotting the black horse head areas in what looked like
a complex airport diagram, with lights, on a vast wall,
Samperi appeared, more healthy than in life,
"The horse head areas are disaster spots,
you have to figure out how to move around them,"
or did he say "through them?"
                                                 Now in Samperi's realm,
on his road, or via, I struggled with bales,
saw marvelous living rocks, emerald things speaking to me?
I was in "everything is alive."
"all is in constant transformation, "then I thought of Caryl,
made it back to our bedroom where hunched Samperi figures were by
      her bed, backs to me.
I saw one slithering under the springs,
I threw them away-monks? demons? Samperi outriders?
and immediately wanted to pursue was it Samperi's Jumanji?
Not sure, never sure, always on this wavering transcendental road,
      plagued with the iridescent,
where hollows are owls, thrown instantly-sprouting reeds,
reeking with meat, and the meat spills its lore, whore-angles pour,
to reveal the beast in harbor, the hall-spurting storm
     is a chrysanthemum-radiant isle. Then Frank reappeared-
I told him: I'm so blocked by transformation, plus
your henchmen passing rods through Caryl...
"Here," Frank said, "work with these..."
He spilled some black pebbles which I scooped, swam with,
tossing them before me as I pulsed,
I ran the Samperi road, miles racing under me,
toppled herms, Frank's life and death, I saw the mother he told me was
    a prostitute,
her hair streaming lizards, she wept little Franks who I kissed,
hedges, towers, a rain of moles, a goblet passed or was passed to me,
I watched the shrimp dancing twitch, then drank,
my infancy became a pile of tiny pearls, "what to do" became a lot of tools,
my newspaper route, I was at 49th and Boulevard Place,
freezing, as the truck dumped the Indianapolis Times,
I tore open the moor, to find the under-sage, twiggy trails led me back,
flying Samperi's diagrammatic sentence, I heard
"You've joined the diagram..."
                                                 Was that Berge?
"Oh it is wonderful," she said, as I plopped down beside her,
"wonderful when vision works at the speed of mind."
Then I saw her chipmunk, I mean her baby anaconda, and broke down
     in tears:
only parts of the dream could be recovered here, and is this vision?
I have remembered, invented, remember-invented,
I was in paradise how long?
I cannot recall its caul, or its multifoliate delivery-
cannot here recreate the dream's sensual matrix.
This is the real Fall, the divisional void.
Then to awake, face the clock, the media headlock,
what a wrench, fellow man, what a wacky disorienting brainswipe,
the zero time of paradise chopped up into space.

Notes:
"SAMPERI'S DIAGRAM": The poet Frank Samperi's (1933-1991) major work is a
trilogy made up of The Prefiguration, Quadrifariam, and Lumen Gloriae, all published
by Mushinsha-Grossman, in 1971 and 1973. Station Hill brought out a selected poems
by Samperi, Spiritual Nescessity, edited by John Martone, in 2003. I knew Frank
both in NYC and in Kyoto, and published his Crystals as a Caterpillar Book (1967),
as well as some of his poems in Caterpillar magazine. He is a unique figure in American
poetry, whose force field gravitated totally around Dante.

From Clayton Eshleman, an alchemist with one eye on fire, 2006

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Three letters to Frank from Ted Enslin



RFD #1, Temple, Maine 04984
1970

Dear Frank,
                  Thanks, more than thanks, for the good reading of Synthesis.
It is a reading, and a just one. Other things, of course, but new or old are
not of the process, and there is much on the other side. Yes. I've hesitated
to do much with this piece, for several years. I did read sections in NY, and
Clayton wanted some of it for Caterpillar, hence. It moves slowly. Not FORMS
but allied to the animus that moved there in other times, other places, and above
all, other angles of seeing/being. If it can bring pleasure or recognition, as
it did from you.

Love,
Ted

3/30/88

Dear Frank,
                      It has been many years since we were in direct contact, although we have been
through your good work. LUMEN GLORIAE remains, for me, one of the
very finest books in many years. I return to it.
                     Perhaps Cid has mentioned to you that I might send you a country stick.
Actually this is what is known as an English striding stick. It is by no means a medical
appendage. I have loved walking sticks all my life, and always carry one on walks, hikes, scrambles.
 (Actually I use a cane size for level walking, sometimes a strider for distance, and a five foot
alpenstock for climbing.)
So you can see I am very fond of them. Actually the one I'm sending you is #304 of those I've
made. It is white ash, and I guarantee, despite it's slim proportion you won't break it.
I suggest you wipe it occasionally with raw linseed oil. That will nourish the wood, and
deepen the color. I like to think that you have one of these.
I hope you enjoy it.

Love, Ted

4/27/88

Dear Frank,
                       If the stick gives you pleasure, it is only a very small return on pleasure
that your work has given me. So many years ago those few times that we talked
in Brooklyn. Perhaps we will again one day. I go to New Mexico every winter ---not that far.

Love,
Ted

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

From Amie Cesaire, Solar Throat Slashed




Le griffon

Je suis un souvenir qui n'atteint pas le seuil
et erre dans les limbes ou le reflet d'absinthe
quand le coeur de la nuit souffle par ses events
bouge l'etoile tombee ou nous nous contemplons

Le ciel lingual a pris sa neuve consistance de creme de noix fraiche ouverte
du coco

Andes crachant et Mayumbe sacre
seul naufrage que l'oeil bon voilier nous soudoie
quand ame folle dechiquetee folle
            par les nuage squi m'arrivent dans les poissons bien clos
je remonte hanter la sinistre epaisseur des choses

The Griffin


I am a memory that does not reach the threshold
and wanders in limbo where the glint of absinthe
when the heart of night breathes through its blowholes
moves the fallen star in which we contemplate ourselves

The lingual sky took on a new consistency of a freshly opened coconut's
cream

Spitting Andres and sacred Mayumbe
sole shipwreck that the eye good sailer pays off for us
when soul mad shredded mad
                through clouds that reach me in tightly shut fish
I reascend to haunt the sinister thickness of things
_________________________________________________________

Mississipi

Hommes tant pis qui ne vous apercevez pas que mes yeux se souviennent
              de frondes et de drapeaux noirs
              qui assassinent a chaque battement de mes cils de Mississipi

Hommes tant pis qui ne voyez pas qui ne voyez rien
pas meme la tres belle signalisation de chemin de fer que font sous mes
paupieres les disques rouges et noirs de serpent-corail que ma munificence
love dans mes larmes de Mississipi

Hommes tant pis qui ne voyez pas qu'au fond de reticule ou le hasard a
depose nos yeux de Mississipi
il y a qui attend un buffle noye jusqu'a la garde des yeux de marecage

Hommes tant pis qui ne voyez pas que vous ne pouvez m'empecher de batir
a sa suffisance
des iles a la tete d'oeuf de ciel flagrant
sous la ferocite calme de geranium immense de notre soleil.


Mississipi

Too bad for you men who don't notice that my eyes remember
              slings and black flags
              that murder with each blink of my Mississipi lashes

Too bad for you men who do not see who do not see anything
not even the gorgeous railway signals formed under my eyelids by the
black and red discs of the coral snake that my munificence coils in my
Mississipi tears

Too bad for you men who do not see that in the depth of the reticule where
chance has deposited our Mississipi eyes
there waits a buffalo sunk to the very hilt of the swamp's eyes

Too bad for you men who do not see that you cannot stop me from building
to his fill
egg-headed islands of flagrant sky
under the calm ferocity of the immense geranium of our sun.
_________________________________________________________

Blues

Aguacero
beau musicien
au pied d'un arbre devetu
parmi les harmonies perdues
pres de nos memoires defaites
parmi nos mains de defaite
et des peuples de force etrange
nous laissions pendre nos yeux
et natale
denouant la longe d'une douleur
nous pleurions.


Blues

Aguacero
beautiful musician
unclothed at the foot of a tree
amidst the lost harmonies
close to our defeated memories
amidst our hands of defeat
and peoples of a strength strange
we let our eyes hang
and native
loosing the leading-rein of a sorrow
we wept.
_______________________________________

Three poems from Amie Cesaire, Solar Throat Slashed
Translated by Clayton Eshleman

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Clayton Eshleman Reading at Beyond Baroque of Aime Cesaire


This past Sunday, Nov 13th, I had the pleasure of attending Clayton's reading of his translation of Aime Cesaire's "Solar Throat Slashed".



My husband and I really enjoyed the reading and it was great to meet up with Clayton after so many years.

Thank you Clayton.
Claudia

Friday, November 11, 2011

Complete interview with Cid Corman now on PennSound

Interviewed by Eric Warren and Claudia Samperi-Warren, New York City, November 1991.
Now the complete video is available on PennSound on Cid Corman's page.



http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Corman.php

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Samperi Notes from Notebook, 1974-75

Lumen Gloriae fully realized today – 3/24/72

that brings to completion the fullness of the work – what was needed was the realization that came on
the 22nd – not arrogance to say that not since the Commedia has there been a work equally complete -
the analogy works because the work along the same lines – in fact, the 3 titles unifies title forgone the
true Dantesque interpretation, which if used would work wonders….By equally complete
I don’t mean as to characterization but as to Spiritual realization: the there planes have been fully
expressed – the fourfold complement of the contemplative brought to bear upon the Trinity the God
head, that is, establishment subsistence there without a doubt but hidden the numbers part of the
poem – both poems stir thruout wherever stressed: The Prefiguration Quadrifariam Lumen Gloriae is the truest reading of the Commedia.

From the standpoint of the seven directions correspondences; but from the standpoint of the fourfold complement of the contemplative - union identity.
The fourfold is not a geometrical figure, it is a state of meanings; therefore, the fourfold the contemplative The Trinity equals 10 the Spiritual structure: only aspectual if the geometrical the numerical remain in Spirit: if not, then the meaning is clear: release perfection.

Should there still be despair at this stage of one’s life? If a man claims realization, then to admit defeat is to invalidate all his work. This would be true if he was writing autobiography; but since the opposite is the case, it’s just a question of going the way of the stage of vision.

It is not wrong to speak openly of the angel as the presence at the moment of composition.
In my experience it has always been so. A radiance appears, the head becomes visional, that is, a fullness of effulgence takes place in such a way that the physical body is shed, the spiritual body as pure spirit, no where sensed except as the seer.

Does this have any meaning within the context of city life? Yes! where man are there is walks,
spiritualization. A market place is proverbial for its insistence that activistic sentiments are of the very
stuff of human life, and yet the man of God is not touched. He moves as seer, re-orienting all phenomena dissolving them at the center of the heart.

When the angel illuminates the single eye the spirit walks the land reaping integration at
every insight, the recollection of the lack of illumination not a warning for the victorians to gloat over
but a mirror revealing forever habitation. The perfected state is the realization that the mirror
(the recollection) is superimposition.

Not so much a wooded area where an angel crouches over a pool giving itself up to the final
light of the day, nor the spirit by a stream contemplating the same phenomenon, but a fusion of both the image waters from the waters.

Then there is the state of the man at one with the angel, and the consciousness that composition takes its intelligence from such companionship, as well as the consciousness of the loss
that leaves the language dead dull and literal.

For the artist only the work is representation of completion – not the life. The modern artist is way off, preferring the man to the work, the embodiment of Spirit the spirit.

10/24/74


Can anything be more condensed (packed) then quel de passuri e quel de’ passi piedi-

Piedi is Christ viator
- Sleep to the world and rise to God

eagle’s eye in profile
circle described
beginning
thru eyebrow
Traiano acclivity’s fast
Rifeo declivity’s
Dante’s:

Dunque nostra veduta, che conviene essere alcun de’raggi della mente….
is not a variance with susumna – however, the following verses that complete the above
tell us how far nostra veduta alcun dei raggi can go

The key to an accurate translation of the last of Paradiso Canto XX is in the balance
between lo guizzo and le fiammetta –

There’s loneliness however in all this my work walking as I do, taking in fresh air,

the wider avenues teasing with greater blue, but I’m there anyway.

-exhaustion is on the side of achievement, never on the side of inspiration: proof that
(true) art (lofty) can in no sense be tied up with genitalia – and even the freeing of
genitalia cometh from above

Credette Cimabue nella pittura tener lo campo, e ora ha Giotto il grido, si che la fama di
colui oscura.

Cimabue thought to hold field in printing and now Giotto has the cry, so that the other’s
fame’s obscured.

America a Prophecy an image of gross man evolving grossly….

- In life we’re under the burden of death, but in art we’re in spirit – therefore,
for their benefit life and art come together only under ad infinitum: from the above
it’s clear why one’s Eternal, the other incomplete, that is, indefinite, that is, not
definitive.

-only under the glorified body (thru Lumen Gloriae) the advantic is our art Eternal (whole)-
as for the other, given the conditions it spins for itself, body and soul must perforce and
ever shall be divided.

Ben m’accors’io ch’elli era d’alta lode, pero ch’a me venia Resurgi’e Vinci’ come a colui che

non intende e ode

I noticed well that it was of high praise, since “Rise” and “Conquer” come to me, as to
one who doesn’t understand yet hears.

To distrust vision is to own up to the fact that such pointedness can only curtail the
effectiveness of discourse.

there’s an assumption
that heresay
I is viable alive and kicking –
who cares anymore

- we exist too much in a space too free

Where has all my poetry gone? it has gone with my youth, my struggle, my lack of
understanding of outcome.

- It’s true that in Dante at times one has to disentangle in order to reconstruct for sense –

but that’s true of all poetry of concentration – in the original es it is (not to be disentangled)
it is a wonder.

Pantheism is all on the side of corporeality, because God and His creatures are said to be
comparable.


- the crux of the matter is not true but he’s there


now only absence or better faster or blur of streetlight

….di se shessa uscio key phrasing for higher meaning, especially of weighed against the
il mio disio e il vella remain for right

a quise di corona, si coronava il bel zaffiro, la coronate fiamma is maria Regina Coeli key
to our receptivity thru purest receptivity (hers) del quala il ciel cui chiaro s’in zaffira (re which
the clearest heaven in sapphires itself)

The art of translation is what it is – we can expect so much, but not more.


For Claudia

moon on roof
snow in wood
even quieter
           the stars
the reindeer’s
antlers

Friday, October 28, 2011

Frank Samperi Annouced on PennSound Daily today

We close the week out with a new author page for Frank Samperi, featuring a number of his out-of-print books as well as a rare recording of the much-esteemed poet.


In this forty-seven minute reading — recorded at New York City's Ear Inn in 1987 — Samperi offers a wide-ranging survey of his poetic output, sharing selections from The Fourth (1973), The Prefiguration (1971), Morning and Evening (1967), Branches (1965) and Of Light (1965), among others. Gil Ott describes this historic event in an interview with CAConrad on the Philly Sound blog: "He gave a once in a lifetime reading at the Ear Inn. It's funny, because sometimes you meet people at the Ear Inn and you expect something from them that they're not. I guess that's true of many things. I expected this guy to look like a monk. And he shows up with his wife, who is wearing a frilly outfit, with fur around the edges. Everything I saw in them bespoke a struggle to maintain a middle class existence. Anyway, he sat down and read, and he read very softly. I have long-sought a recording of that reading, but apparently, due to the Ear Inn's technological failures, no recording is available. But it was beautiful! You really had to listen hard, because his voice was so soft, and the microphones weren't working."

We've also recently added four collections of Samperi's poetry to the PEPC Library: Quadrifariam (1971), The Prefiguration (1971), Lumen Gloriae (1973) and Day (1998), which was posthumously transcribed from 1970 notebook. Charles Bernstein enthusiastically announced these new additions on Jacket2 — the last three books earlier this month, and Quadrifariam just a few days ago.

These texts and recordings come to us through the generosity of Claudia Samperi Warren, the poet's daughter, who runs a wonderful blog dedicated to her father's life and work. Aside from the many wonderful resources there, we'd also like to refer listeners interested in learning more about the poet to Jamie Townsend's 2008 essay, "Spiritual Man, Modern Man: the Poetics of Frank Samperi, published in Jacket #36.

http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/

http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Samperi.php

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More on Frank Samperi poet-mystic

Kyle, it made me happy to see you talking about Frank Samperi on the blog (10/27). I've photocopied the long piece NIGHT & DAY for you from Cid Corman's anthology is out of print, and far as I can tell this piece has never been published outside the anthology, and the magazine from which the anthology is made. (It's a fantastic anthology by the way)


To be honest my first feelings about Samperi were mixed, mostly because I kept getting stuck (annoyed is a better word) with his religious ideals. Soon enough though it became clear (or so it seems) that he was a spiritualist who happened to be catholic. I've met other spiritualists who were also catholic. My old friend Rosina is a pagan who follows her Sicilian mother and grandmother's traditions of the Strega, but also has a serious PASSION for the Eucharist. It can all be just fine together, and I guess I needed to relax about this, and both Rosina and Samperi helped me realize this.

And I'm glad I didn't let the religious language interfere because Samperi is unlike any other poet I can think of from our time (almost from our time).

One HUGE Samperi fan was Gil Ott.

Gil Ott answered:

The poet's face on my kite is Frank Samperi, reclusive when he was alive, but now deceased at least a decade. I would ask him to elaborate on the word "procession," which he used to distinguish from "process." I image this man's mind as pure witness, tuned to the essential deity of events, and so endangered.

Samperi has always been so elusive, physically, and more than almost any other poet I have wanted to know WHAT he looked like. He has a way of making you fall in love with him, really fall in love with him, without ever knowing him. For me, the only other writer who has done this is Franz Kafka, but for very different reasons, and in very different ways. Gil Ott is the only person I've ever know who met Samperi, and so I liked to pump Gil for details.

In that interview I did with Gil for BANJO, Samperi comes up again. Here's an excerpt of that section:

CA: Earlier you mentioned Frank Samperi, and he's someone you have mentioned over the years as being an inspiration to you. Can you share some of your thoughts about how his poems fit into your life as a poet?

Gil: Poverty and art is something I've discussed with the Australian poet David Miller, who is also familiar with Samperi. At the time--which would be the early 80s--Frank Samperi seemed to me to be a great undiscovered poet in our midst. The notion of poverty and art was very strong, and he seemed very monkish to me. This is something I have adopted, as a condition, which is what's interesting in that quote you pulled out earlier from my book WITHIN RANGE.

CA: You met him once didn't you? At the Ear Inn, isn't that right?

Gil: Yes. He gave a once in a lifetime reading at the Ear Inn. It's funny, because sometimes you meet people at the Ear Inn and you expect something from them that they're not. I guess that's true of many things. I expected this guy to look like a monk. And he shows up with his wife, who is wearing a frilly outfit, with fur around the edges. Everything I saw in them bespoke a struggle to maintain a middle class existence. Anyway, he sat down and read, and he read very softly. I have long-sought a recording of that reading, but apparently, due to the Ear Inn's technological failures, no recording is available. But it was beautiful! You really had to listen hard, because his voice was so soft, and the microphones weren't working.

CA: Didn't you say that he died soon after that reading?

Gil: Yes he did. He seemed fairly fragile. I also want to say that part of the appeal of Samperi were the books of his work that were produced. Grossman and Mushinsha published his trilogy. Also some very nice chapbooks of his work that Cid Corman had put out at one point. The linkage with poverty was through the line. His line was very spare. Sometimes one word or two words to a line. And you get these long thin lines that are just barely there, but powerful.

No one put it quite like Gil did.
Thanks Kyle for bringing up Samperi, let's get more going on this amazing poet!
CAConrad

http://phillysound.blogspot.com/2005_11_01_archive.html

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More Frank Samperi notes on poetics and the three volume work

1970 – 1972 notebook


Notes on three volume work.

The father’s first name in union with the mother’s last name engendered the son’s task before the world the father’s inner structure of the same totality as the mother’s but of different octaves
the mother’s revealing in reverse the father’s task whereas the father’s in sum the son’s destiny
the son remembering discovering the father in the doubling

The Quadrifariam means fourfold, but its meaning carries with it Aquinas’ sense of Augustine’s and both bearing upon Dante’s true spiritual refrain of the work. In other words, The Triune is the theme thruout the title presenting the paradox foundation yet boundaries released.

Reduction of the seven directions
opposites causation hierarchies
the heart the fourth itself fourfold
united to the three movements
circular straight spiral
the heart the fourth uninvolved
yet Spirit the spirit
integrity radiance harmony
the spiritual man
state before the mystery

Quadrifariam is definitely the new heaven and the earth: the fourfold resolves the conflicts of the seven directions which reappear in Spirit as the fourfold complement of the contemplative.

The fourfold resolves the seven directions which reappear in Spirit as the new heaven and the new earth the fourfold complement of the contemplative. (3/22/72)

                Lumen Gloriae fully realized today – 3/24/72

that brings to completion the fullness of the work – what was needed was the realization that came on
the 22nd – not arrogance to say that not since the Commedia has there been a work equally complete -
the analogy works because the work along the same lines – in fact, the 3 titles unifies title forgone the
true Dantesque interpretation, which if used would work wonders….By equally complete
I don’t mean as to characterization but as to Spiritual realization: the there planes have been fully
expressed – the fourfold complement of the contemplative brought to bear upon the Trinity the God
head, that is, establishment subsistence there without a doubt but hidden the numbers part of the
poem – both poems stir thruout wherever stressed: The Prefiguration Quadrifariam Lumen Gloriae is the truest reading of the Commedia.

          From the standpoint of the seven directions correspondences; but from the standpoint of the fourfold complement of the contemplative - union identity.
          The fourfold is not a geometrical figure, it is a state of meanings; therefore, the fourfold the contemplative The Trinity equals 10 the Spiritual structure: only aspectual if the geometrical the numerical remain in Spirit: if not, then the meaning is clear: release perfection.

          Should there still be despair at this stage of one’s life? If a man claims realization, then to admit defeat is to invalidate all his work. This would be true if he was writing autobiography; but since the opposite is the case, it’s just a question of going the way of the stage of vision.

          It is not wrong to speak openly of the angel as the presence at the moment of composition.

In my experience it has always been so. A radiance appears, the head becomes visional, that is, a fullness of effulgence takes place in such a way that the physical body is shed, the spiritual body as pure spirit, no where sensed except as the seer.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Frank Samperi’s notes on poetry and poetics

8/29/69

Handwritten original from “Marginalia” included in Quadrifariam.

For Dolores

These poems may seem to be just occasions; (but) nevertheless there is a desire to place
them more substantially: the spiritual world a light coming thru. (Gathering up or better)
revealing the domestic worthy of the metaphor: the family aware of the fall of light,
darkness no longer something to be eradicated.

9/24/69

-There should be no indenting – also, the lines should fall without spacing.

Anti-Hero

What is known the world over business makes men brutal.
Still feel that the deeping of The Triune depends upon my getting complete rest – no other
way to the spirit except thru a purity of disposition.
It is best that my work remain unknown – the age continues the work of the last 600 years:
Who’s the poet, then?
I’d like to write of friendship, but that’s more memorial than actual fact; nevertheless, the
memory of it mollifies walks otherwise hapless. Not much time for walks these days – the job
tyrannical. It is not possible to teach the young poetry if their sense of (poetry) it is competitive.
They seek judgments that have nothing to do with the art, that is, a man gains nothing from being
told that his work is stronger than another’s: but again, the age wants no part of a teaching that
has God as end, the audience in no sense identifying with a work, release necessarily telic.
Here it comes clear: the teaching of poetry says just that we might be heirs of a view that impedes
no sense – second that the wholeness of a work is equally given up: from these the audience is
fulfilled, the sense the wholeness unimpeded. What happens when the age is false (propagandistic)?

The artist must seek the truth doubly.
You waste away for want of companions – those who insist you only wait upon a verification that
is referable to themselves rather than the common that makes companions participants in the greater
life.
What comes upon one that makes him (you) feel that everything has reached its peak, and that
anything more to do is over and above! There is separation, and the terrible sorrow of the day reflects
it, makes me inwardly dual.
Wait! Don’t work on the major poem until there is time – but suppose the time never comes? Wait! If…
only those writers whose possibilities are granted can expect honor, those ignored can only know
isolation, the act of writing (more) akin to the (criminal action) non-professional, even tho sense of craft
better than those whose positions are granted. The ignored one must take upon himself every insult,
humiliation – the superiorly of his art makes him take it – compromise foreign to him.
The country art is suspect because it’s there for the sake of the tired peoples of the cities – after awhile
people can only take so much concrete – but we can’t be sentimental over this.
We are now into the days (now) when to expect words from another can cause collapse if the words
don’t come. Some poets stay amidst nature because they feel – I guess – that to stay in the city is to be
abstract: they – unknowingly, of course – falsify: in the country does not guaranty poetry; on the
contrary, it is possible to tip one’s hat (to pay lip service) to the natural sciences under such conditions,
that is, the poetic actively there is referable to the position here in the sense that it is there in order to
ease the city of its severity.
So many hours to job – so little now for reading. Was it not once almost 12 hours a day?
The Union of both Church & State has the same meaning as Church Total State Total: total eradication of
differences.
The new Christian the Spiritual man living the Eternal Life.
There’s no time to rest now: poems come of rest? Then let there be a writing: no time to rest –

But are you giving yourself over to expression? No! expression always self: Holy or slave this writing
reveals a purity reflecting Holiness or a shell (inwardly outwardly) cracked reflecting nothing,
which is to say, the ordeal more than the body can handle, yet the brokenness not without some sense
of the release that is Holiness, because the selflessness even there purity tho negative,
to get rid of a desire to be known is to come to grips with one’s humiliation.
I am sick of this age. I am not fit for anything – useless.

gods in shadows

wood beyond hill

above sea

light reflected beyond water – nothing….

Two movements become confused when the vision is single: a man high minded but poor.
(unfit for life.)
It may be that I have written the Life more than any other, but viewed from the role valid identification,
not true, personalism an image in light giving way to God.
I feel deeply misplaced; but know at heart that place here is political, and wonder where is the political
that once was ordinary speech, dying as we do speaking artificially.
This however cannot be right: ordinary artificial parts of the greater no where at odds.
The good life can only be that which despite everything else remains itself.
Why suicide in my work? obvious: the work wishes to take its life.
There is a difference between the actual life and the real life.
Ideally speaking social poetry to the detriment of the familial is circular: peace as end is but the familial
returning: therefore, social poetry is family poetry….
One can’t get rid of the sentimental by identifying with the social.
The sorrow of astrology is that its theoretical configurations stand in need of the practical.
To be thoroughly secular is to be pagan.

My relation to the 4 similar to Dante’s relation to those of the old style.
Beware of the poets who (seek) to equate the will with the vertical and then seek to destroy (get rid of) it.
Knowledge of the individual a ruse: something pantheistic about it.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Frank Samperi: Three Books E-books from PEPC Library


Three books by Frank Samperi: pdf e-books from PEPC library, ©2011 the Samperi Estate and Claudia Samperi-Warren. With thanks to Claudia Samperi-Warren for making them available to PEPC.

The Prefiguration (1971)
Lumen Gloriae (1973)
Day (1998) (transcribed posthumously from 1970 notebook)


From the bio note in Day:

Frank Samperi was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933. Discovered by poet Louis Zukofsky, his first poems were published in the early 1960’s. Through study of Aquinas, Aristotle, Dante and the Hindu Vedantist, Shankaracarya, Samperi created a body of work that was a unique exploration of the ability of language to exist in a pure musicality apart from thingly reference. “Frank’s work was truly abstract, truly resisted the things of the world and boasted rather the refining fire of the spirit,” said Robert Kelly. In his lifetime, he published 20 collections of poetry.


Coming soon on PennSound: a recording of Samperi reading.

https://jacket2.org/commentary/frank-samperi-three-books

Friday, October 7, 2011

Frank Samperi books available through PennSound

Now Frank Samperi poetry books are available on PennSound as a digital edition.
Thank you Charles Bernstein.



Click on this link to view books.

http://www.writing.upenn.edu/pepc/contents.html

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The influence my father had on me as an artist from the very begining


The Green Disciples are a series of paintings about loss. My inspiration came from a journey to Paris 14 years ago at the Pere La Chaise cemetery located in the third arrondissement.
I choose green to emphasise the transient nature of birth and decay and their relationship to classical themes of social processes at work in the fleeting illusion we call - environment.


The Ballet series is a celebration of a personal come back from an injury I received while preparing for a dance recital. The process of dance is one of ethereal beauty and physical pain. Through the hard work comes an almost re-sculpture of your own body to execute the difficult movements, a labor of love.
"Day" is a book of my paintings and my father's poems, a series of poems that were written in 1970.
My father was a published poet of over twenty books. He passed away in 1991 and it has been my wish to publish as much of his remaining work as possible.


My paintings have always been about sadness and its manifestation in the human figure. At times we feel we are in a tight corner, itching to get out, to be free from our bodies, our minds, our environment. I struggle with my work to convey the human figure with both emotion and grace. I have much to do, and many images to go, in order to create the sustained vision of being human in the light of the divine.
My father always said, "be true to yourself, and look within your soul, and you will be on your way to
forming the crystalline".

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Review from Paul Revere's Horse Literary Journal by Russell Duvernoy, 2011 on Frank Samperi

"You're in light, song"
Considering Frank Samperi

















From Russell:

Thank you so much for contacting me. I am thrilled to hear from

you. Your father's work has been a great source of pleasure and
sustenance ever since I first discovered it in 2008. (This was at a
great poetry only bookshop in Beacon, NY - The Hermitage - which has
since closed. The proprietor Jon Beachum, had several out of print,
and beautiful, copies of Samperi's books, which he recommended.)

The piece you mentioned is an essay on your father's work as a
whole, the impact it has made upon me, and its relationship to
spiritual and philosophical pursuits. I am proud of it as a piece of
writing and I believe it honors your father's work. It draws
primarily on poems found in The Prefigurations, Quadrifarium, and
Lumen Gloriae.

Wonderful review thanks to Russell. Thank you so much Russell.
Claudia



Monday, September 19, 2011

More notes

You waste away for want of companions – those who insist you only wait upon a verification that


is referable to themselves rather than the common that makes companions participants in the greater

life. What comes upon one that makes him (you) feel that everything has reached its peak, and that

anything more to do is over and above! There is separation, and the terrible sorrow of the day reflects

it, makes me inwardly dual. Wait! Don’t work on the major poem until there is time – but suppose the time

never comes? Wait! If…

Only those writers whose possibilities are granted can expect honor, those ignored can only know

isolation, the act of writing (more) akin to the (criminal action)non-professional, even tho sense of craft

better than those whose positions are granted. The ignored one must take upon himself every insult,

humiliation – the superiorly of his art makes him take it – compromise foreign to him.

The country art is suspect because it’s there for the sake of the tired peoples of the cities – after awhile

people can only take so much concrete – but we can’t be sentimental over this.

We are now into the days (now) when to expect words from another can cause collapse if the words

don’t come. Some poets stay amidst nature because they feel – I guess – that to stay in the city is to be

abstract: they – unknowingly, of course – falsify: in the country does not guaranty poetry; on the

contrary, it is possible to tip one’s hat (to pay lip service) to the natural sciences under such conditions,

that is, the poetic actively there is referable to the position here in the sense that it is there in order to

ease the city of its severity.

So many hours to job – so little now for reading. Was it not once almost 12 hours a day?

The Union of both Church & State has the same meaning as Church Total State Total: total eradication of

differences.

The new Christian the Spiritual man living the Eternal Life.

There’s no time to rest now: poems come of rest? Then let there be a writing: no time to rest –

But are you giving yourself over to expression? No! expression always self: Holy or slave this writing

reveals a purity reflecting Holiness or a shell (inwardly outwardly) cracked reflecting nothing,

which is to say, the ordeal more than the body can handle, yet the brokenness not without some sense

of the release that is Holiness, because the selflessness even there purity tho negative.

To get rid of a desire to be known is to come to grips with one’s humiliation.

I am sick of this age. I am not fit for anything – useless.

                  gods in shadows

                 wood beyond hill

                 above sea

                 light reflected beyond water – nothing….

Two movements become confused when the vision is single: a man high minded but poor.

(unfit for life.)

It may be that I have written the Life more than any other, but viewed from the role valid identification,

not true, personalism an image in light giving way to God.

I feel deeply misplaced; but know at heart that place here is political, and wonder where is the political

that once was ordinary speech, dying as we do speaking artificially.

This however cannot be right: ordinary artificial parts of the greater no where at odds.

The good life can only be that which despite everything else remains itself.

Why suicide in my work? obvious: the work wishes to take its life.

There is a difference between the actual life and the real life.

Ideally speaking social poetry to the detriment of the familial is circular: peace as end is but the familial

returning: therefore, social poetry is family poetry….

One can’t get rid of the sentimental by identifying with the social.

The sorrow of astrology is that its theoretical configurations stand in need of the practical.

To be thoroughly secular is to be pagan.

My relation to the 4 similar to Dante’s relation to those of the old style.

Beware of the poets who (seek) equate the will with the vertical and then seek to destroy (get rid of) it.

Knowledge of the individual a ruse: something pantheistic about it.

1/22/70

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Frank Samperi’s notes on poetry and poetics

8/29/69


Handwritten original from “Marginalia” included in Quadrifariam.

For Dolores

These poems may seem to be just occasions; (but) nevertheless there is a desire to place

them more substantially: the spiritual world a light coming thru. (Gathering up or better)

revealing the domestic worthy of the metaphor: the family aware of the fall of light,

darkness no longer something to be eradicated.

9/24/69

-There should be no indenting – also, the lines should fall without spacing.

Anti-Hero

What is known the world over business makes men brutal.

Still feel that the deeping of The Triune depends upon my getting complete rest – no other

way to the spirit except thru a purity of disposition.

It is best that my work remain unknown – the age continues the work of the last 600 years:

Who’s the poet, then?

I’d like to write of friendship, but that’s more memorial than actual fact; nevertheless, the

memory of it mollifies walks otherwise hapless. Not much time for walks these days – the job

tyrannical. It is not possible to teach the young poetry if their sense of (poetry) it is competitive.

They seek judgments that have nothing to do with the art, that is, a man gains nothing from being

told that his work is stronger than another’s: but again, the age wants no part of a teaching that

has God as end, the audience in no sense identifying with a work, release necessarily telic.

Here it comes clear: the teaching of poetry says just that we might be heirs of a view that impedes

no sense – second that the wholeness of a work is equally given up: from these the audience is

fulfilled, the sense the wholeness unimpeded. What happens when the age is false (propagandistic)?

The artist must seek the truth doubly.

You waste away for want of companions – those who insist you only wait upon a verification that

is referable to themselves rather than the common that makes companions participants in the greater

life.

What comes upon one that makes him (you) feel that everything has reached its peak, and that

anything more to do is over and above! There is separation, and the terrible sorrow of the day reflects

It, makes me inwardly dual.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Paul Revere's Horse Literary Journal


Last Poets Review by Russell Duvernoy on Frank Samperi.

Russell Duvernoy currently resides in Albuquerque, NM where he studies Philosophy at UNM. His work has appeared in Fugue, Watchword, and Queen’s Head and Artichoke, and he has published a small collection of short stories with the obscure but legendary letter-press publisher Unlock the Clockcase.


Does anyone have a copy? has anyone seen this review?

Very nice. Claudia

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

From Dei Notitia, 1978 by Frank Samperi

From Dei notitia

By
Frank Samperi
for
John Perlman


















Last Poem:

turn to God

God informs
immutabiliter
this one that is
you-

“Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our

Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and
truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity
and consubstantial with us as to his humanity; "like us in all things but sin." He was begotten
from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our
salvation, was born as to his humanity of the virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged
in two natures without confusion, change, division, or separation (in duabus naturis inconfuse,
immutabiliter, indivise, inseparabiliter). The distinction between natures was never abolished by
their union, but rather the character proper to each of the two natures was preserved as they
came together in one person (prosopon) and one hypostasis.”

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Virgo, my father's Rising Sign in Astrology





Virgo () is the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac, which spans the zodiac between the 150th and 179th degree of celestial longitude. Generally, the Sun transits this area of the zodiac between August 23rd to September 22nd each year (sometimes the dates vary slightly). Individuals born during these dates, whilst the Sun is within this sign are called Virgos.

Virgo is seasonally associated with the end of summer and the onset of autumn, when nature -having borne its fruit - recedes into conservation. Because its period indicates a change of season, it is known as a 'mutable sign',which indicates an instinct towards changeability and an easy ability to let go of past situations in preparation for future needs.


The sign is governed by Mercury, the planet of dexterity, communication, interchange of ideas and study. Mercury is also exalted in this sign, which as an 'earth-sign' is marked by practicality and perseverance. This gives an ideal balance between ingenuity of mind, and sharp intellect, and the strength of will needed to see creative ideas through to completion. In the other elements a strong Mercury can indicate fickleness or unhealthy restlessness, but Virgo's earthy qualities steady this trait and gives an excellent eye for detail. Virgos are reputed to be adept at languages, to possess a love of literature, a deep interest in history and statistics, and a good memory for details.

Virgo is considered a 'feminine' or passive (introvert) sign. This gives the characteristics of being reflective and receptive to the ideas of others. This passivity, accompanied by a flair for discrimination and eloquence with words has given Virgos a reputation for civility and good manners. They are said to have a talent for projects which require precision and detail, and to excel at skills and crafts which require patience and exactitude. On the negative, they are highly sensitive to perceived criticism, and can appear to worry unduly about the need to make things as perfect as they can be. Joanna Watters (2003) defined a keyphrase for this sign as "I serve", and summarises the Virgo reputation for over-analysing emotions by saying:"One of the Virgo lessons in life is to learn that to err is human, to forgive divine, especially when it comes to love.

The Ascendant (or rising sign) is often considered the mask one wears when meeting others. Perhaps it is most aptly thought of as the automatic responses to one's environment. The Ascendant shows our natural defenses and how we cope with day-to-day issues. The energies of the sign and condition of the Ascendant are most overt and obvious to others. The Ascendant shows an individual's first, natural reaction to new people and situations.



Poem from The Prefiguration

Today
we'll probably
go sit in the park
or maybe
on the bench
in front of
the bus stop
by the hospital
at least until
the sun goes
down

__________________________________________________