Sunday, January 30, 2011

DAY - Frank Samperi - 1998

Now available on through Kindle.

The Black Mountain Review - 1954

The Black Mountain Review is published four times a year by Black Mountain College, Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Editor: Robert Creeley
Contributing Editors: Robert Hellman, Irving Layton, Charles Olson

The Gardener

on the left branch, a
blossom. on the
top branch, a blossom.
which child is this.
which flowering
of me. which
gold white bloom.
which the force of my life.

Joel Oppenheimer

The First Frost

My ego has diminished considerably
since our last encounter.
The first frost of the year
has taught me many lessons:
first not to expect from you
what you cannot give me;
second, not to squander
my days, waiting for my ego
to make you its nude manifestation.

The first frost of the year
has effected me deeply.
It is cold, I now realize,
to spend a day in the country,
too cold to lay our hearts bare,
to walk through each other's life
stark naked.

Sanford Edelstein

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Blues & 4 Haikus

Part of the morning stars
The moon and the mail
The ravenous X, the raving ache,
--the moon Sittle La
Pottle, teh, teh, teh,--

The poets in owlish old rooms
who write bent over words
know that words were invented
because noting was nothing

In use of words, use words,
the X and the blank
And the Emperor's white page
And the last of the Bulls
Before spring operates
Are all lotsa nothin
which we got anyway
So we'll deal in the night
in the market of words
And he sits embrowned
in a brown chest
Before the palish priests

And he points delicately
at the sky
With palm and forefinger

And's got a halo
of gate black

And's got a hawknosed
watcher who loves to hate

But has learned to meditate
It do no good to hate

So watches, roseate laurel
on head
In back of Prince Avalokitesvar
Who moos with snow hand
And laces with pearls
the sea's majesty

Shall I say no?                                                  Unencouraging sign
---fly rubbing                                                    ---the fish store
its back legs                                                      Is closed

Nodding against                                                Straining at the padlock
the wall, the flowers                                            the garage doors
Sneeze                                                               At noon

Jack Kerouac

Saturday Afternoon

It is like a monster come to dinner,
and the dinner table is set,
the fire in the fireplace,
good luck to good dinner--

The monster you love is home again,
and he tells you the stories of the world,
big cities, small men
and women.

Make room for the furry wooden eyed
monster. He is my friend,
whom you burn.

Robert Creeley

YUGEN is published quarterly at 402 W. 20th St., New York 11, NY subscriptions:
$2.00 per year, single copies: 50. Manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied
by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
Copyright 1959 by LeRoi Jones and Hettie Cohen.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Frank Samperi Interview, 1980

Please click on the link below to listen to an interview that John Levy recorded of my father in 1980 at our east side apt. His voice is so clear that it seems he is in the next room.

This is only 5 minutes of an hour recording so more to come.

Sunny CA

Ronnie was a close poet friend of my father's in the 1980's and came to the apt on the lower east side often to visit.
His wife, Martha Kaplan, at the time is an artist and her and I corresponded during my college days.
Not sure what Ronnie is doing now. My father was happy to find two people that were such admirers of his work and wanted to listen to his words.

2 Storeys

poems by

Ronnie Kaplan


immediately forgotten
then I don't know
I got up
went to the window
it was misted over
I wiped it
with my shirtsleeve
the Spring
now I remember
we'd driven
to the cemetery
imaging to find
my parents there
the day had become
hot & sticky
tho we were perhaps a mile or so
from the ocean
I sat on a nearby bench
strange no trees are planted
only shrubbery
in front
of many
of the graves


rain beating a path
to the sewer
on the corner

by mid-morning
the trains
are running
behind schedule

a trucks
loaded with corn
stand in a line
stretching for blocks

2 storeys

on his hands & knees
rolling pennies
under the bed
--where did it go--
--what's back there--
your parents are passed away
you've no brother or sister
go my child
over the hill
to the woodland
the wildflowers
in its midst
no one
has seen me
& no one
about it
here or there
& God knows

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Friday Evening, Jan 20, 2011

From The Elizabeth Press - Book Publishers - A retrospectus of remarks on our authors and their books.

In a sense he comes on like the Noh, from way back, posthumously in the guise of a native of New York, or Brooklyn, but clearly, transparently, a spirit.... At a time when poetry makes a fetish of screaming and pointing at itself, when shock-effects are all the rage, this reflective, soft, but tough, poetry may easily be overlooked and only slowly overheard. But heard it will be.

James Weil's beautifully produced new anthology My Music Bent is as good a guide as one could find to the current state of American poetry.
-Tony Frazer in SAMPHIRE (England)

Taggart's highly developed sense of sound and syntax creates amazingly sharp and various melodies in the poems and a rare sort of harmony in the unisons....Taggart is essential to the alchemy of contemporary verse.
-Karl Young in MARGINS

Alike to Bly, and more so to Cid Corman in style, his verse depends upon image relayed by a brevity of language...The poetry leaves much to the reader's own sensitivity, but one cannot help but feel the emotions underlying the theme, suggesting much more than it says. It is , like Bly's a book of simplicities with vast depths beneath.
-Martin Booth in TRIBUNE (London)

It is the nicety of her work, the discretion. It does not insist on being The Best Female Poetry Almost West of the Mississippi, and calls no notice to itself at all except for the most primary reason - that it gives absolute clarification and concentration to its words, that it is local and personal in the ultimate way that leads to its becoming 'classic'.
-Jonathan Williams in KULCHUR

A collection of his best poems, including those from this new book, would be one of the finest works in English from the third quarter of the century. Beyond that , "Once And For All" is quite the equal of his earlier books, though perhaps more abstract than some, and a handsome work physically too, a product of Martino Mardersteig and the Stamperia Valdonega of Verona.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Writing Religious Poetry and the Case of Frank Samperi

I have received permission to post this article that Peter O'Leary wrote on my father by
University of St.Thomas on my blog. Please view the whole article to the right under permanent pages.

O'Leary, Peter, 1968-

Reversion and the Turning Thither: Writing Religious Poetry and the Case of Frank Samperi
Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture - Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2004, pp. 54-85

University of St. Thomas

Peter O'Leary - Reversion and the Turning Thither: Writing Religious Poetry and the Case of Frank Samperi - Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 7:2 Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 7.2 (2004) 54-85 Reversion and the Turning Thither: Writing Religious Poetry and the Case of Frank Samperi Peter O'Leary Idcirco accidit ut, quantum illos proximius imitemur, tantum rectius poetemur. Unde nos doctrine operi intendentes, doctrinatas eorum poetrias emulari oportet. Dante, de Vulgare Eloquentia, II.4 Thus it comes about that, the more closely we try to imitate the great poets, the more correctly we write poetry. So, since I am trying to write a theoretical work about poetry, it behoves me to emulate their learned works of poetic doctrine. Translated by Steven Botteril Emulation What is at stake in choosing to be a religious poet? We find the strengths and weaknesses, the glories and the failures of this decision in the case of Frank Samperi, an obscure, experimental American poet of the twentieth century who wrote out of an explicitly Roman Catholic vision of the universe. The challenge of reading Frank Samperi's poetry is the challenge of reading religious poetry. Is Samperi a poet of vision, of singular insight? Or is individual vision antithetical to the doctrine he emulates in his poetry? In the Western tradition, when we think of great religious poetry, we think of Dante, Milton, Blake. Each is a poet of vision, of singular...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

JARGON 31: 14 POETS, 1 ARTIST, DEC 12-14, 1958, NEW YORK

This is a gem of all gems that I found in my father's library today.
Signed by Louis Zukofsky to my father, 1958.
A collections of amazing poets of The Black Mountain Poets era.

Jargon 31 refers to the 31st publication produced by The Jargon Society, an independent press founded by the American poet Jonathan Williams. The folder includes 14 separate sheets of holograph poems by fourteen contributors, including Paul Blackburn, Allen Ginsberg, Paul Goodman, Denise Levertov, Edward Dahlberg, Louis Zukofsky, Franz Klein, and Jonathan Williams, with each poem featuring an illustration by Fielding Dawson.

First poem: from 9th street Hokku/1950 - can't make out the signature?
Second poem by Allen Ginsberg. I love the drawing in the upper left corner of the skull.

Third poem by Paul Blackburn.
Fourth poem by Denise Levertov.

Enjoy these wonderful poems from such a passionate time. More to come.

A Remotis and Sappunta

A Remotis - 1979 - some of these poems first appeared in Origin. Querencia Books, Seattle.

curling about the trunk of a tree
by the fountain of a garden
a snake
ruby crested

perennials to perennials
whenever wherever
also of the order
of Ancients

reveal Eternity
and the negation
their egos

so many flakes of snow

dressed in their sunday best
several people spent an evening
in a cemetery on a hillside
gawking at names and dates

Synthesis compositio componere



Sappunta - first published in 2004 by William Cirocco, Hawkhaven Press, San Francisco, CA.

willow bird
willow tree
weeping bird
weeping tree
                  lake below
                  vale of tears

in the return
of filii Heber
the gathering
of the dust    is
the fullness

Dante stands upon
the last line of the Paradise
because the last line
is unitiva et concretiva.
-This proves that for
Dei notitia the way of
love in the Comedia e
Via Negativa.

He talked about Death
All his life
As if it was
The most self-effacing
Of events

But behind all the talk
Lay the event
The ultimate attention-

the city hurts
the ground
of the city

the harder
the city
the greater
the particulars
of the city

and unlimited
the numbers
of the city

the concrete
of the city
the mockery
of vis...concretiva
of Amor

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Frank Samperi's translation of Dante's Paradise - 1973

My father wrote this translation in May, 1973 of Dante's Paradise and finished it in March, 1975.
Here he states in a letter to Cid:


Dear Cid,
Been resting most of this week - my translation is finished. Started to read again for relaxation.
Not worrying too much about getting translation published - I think it'll be done some day.
The important thing is that its now behind me - and I'm free to live.
I know that the body of my work doesn't mean much to my contemporaries -

The first Canto appeared in The Chicago Review, published in 1999.
If you don't have a copy, I will soon have it available on

If anyone out there knows of a publisher that would be interested in publishing this translation of Dante's Paradise by Frank Samperi. It has been 35 years since this was written - a long time over due.

As mentioned by John Martone, my father's Comprehensor Viator would consist of:

The Kingdom
The Explusion
Alfa ed O

Maybe one day we could reconstruct a book of all of these volumes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Room Is My Refuge From Light

When can we go out to the fields,
Where light does not hurt, where birds do not shame?
We have lived too long in lots.
Cannot we, who have ruined his name,

Find a new place? cannot our justice
Go beyond?--They do not labor, he said,
Meaning the lilies. Must we,
Then, hold high the scribes and Pharisees?

Somehow, when ready, we shall pass
Under branches that touch the narrow gate;
And we, of single eye,
Shall see the pass, though we have come late.

As birds
from wires
to roofs
to sky
go down
high buildings

a new book:
its smell
the cold air.

Not many on the streets.
Late November.
Must get home.

My seeing is bad: things merge;
And I've come to darkness.
I've no wish to live. There are no birds
To sing, I fear, my going down to hell.
And, also, the dead,
There, who've sinned, too, will they ban me?

Now that I'm dying I see a
Path that bends toward a church door.
Once, when the sun struck
The nearby hills and fields,
I walked that path, where, to the right, under
Moving branches, on benches, nuns prayed.

I shall never again see the way.
Always, even among the damned,
I shall be sightless, and shall curse the Tree.
But, there, I thunk, I shall know
The past, as it pertains
To me, which is death.

An objective love,
Yes! but the mutability of
Man precludes Man from knowing God
Thru Man--and the psilan-
Thropic shepherd seared my mind.
So I think of the Well of Styx and cry.

And the peoples came down from the mountains--
And they built cities
For the rich--and the poor, who've
Suffered much, thought that if free from want,
They, too, would be gods--and the rich,
Who knew this, had laws made.

Go down, gladly, my soul.
Does it matter that I haven't long to live,
That there is none to weep for me?
No use, anyway,
I've lost the line that measures the mind,
I've failed to partake of being.

I'm done with it all--
So I'll kneel before the cross and pray:
How long, Lord? a week, two?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Room Is My Refuge From Light


You cannot go, he said--
The streets are still arable.

See--hands are pushing, up, through,
Cracks in sidewalks.

Hear--the skirl (O
the bagpipers have come to town)--

And eyes--thousands, rolling down
Streets, burning.

Come here, by the window--look,
Up there the sun has become inconstant.

                                          A Session

                                  Down in the lowlands
                                  of Delancy Street

in a room
with one
soiled sofa,
and three
straightbacked chairs
in need
of painting,
gathered the young
to drink beer,
smoke marijuana's,
and discuss
the possibilities
of a new revolutions--

                               and the young girl
                               18 (made pregnant
                               by her pederastic husband),
                               who lay on the sofa
                               twisted like a well-fed boa,
                               when spoken to,
                               and who has the reputed
                               wallpainter of anthropoids
                               with brains in their nuts,
                               said: Man, I'm bored
                               blow somethin' on that sax--

and the inimitable
peer of the lowlands
finished his sweetweed,
twitched, and then blew--

                                and something "like" cool moved
                                amid the sweetweedsmoke.


You say
I'm not:
so trees

I gave
love, sat
on grass--

your head
up; even
a cop

it new
that a

could be

I knew
a dawn
--and you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Room Is My Refuge From Light


I have waited
for the evil wind
bearing smells
of bread and wine
of wine
wet benches
pine trees
             once a
with blood
               now a
               worm song
               Bread song
by mud
          the robin
have waited
for the evil wind
of bread
and wine


I waste
         my afternoons
         in streets
where faces
in sunlight
         and brick homes
         Mozart tunes
against Pet shops.
          Damn it,
there's something
with this place,
          says an old man,
as I wait for a bus.


Where shall I go? Is there a place for me?
Out there, the streets are covered with leaves--
and I must go.--But where shall I go?
                                                          God, the clowns
are burying the dead in the backyard behind the cypress
tree. And the harlequin, high priest of the laughing
world, guards the lilac bush.
                                                  But I must go. Even
though my new room will look out onto a mixen
                                                  where files
                                                  come to breed.
My world is reechy,
                                   and my blood
is diseased, and my bones are cracking
under the heat of an unconcerned sun,
and my face is blotched and lacerated from the insects'
fierce sense of right.
                                 Hapless, I shall take
my little bag of necessities and move closer
toward the ivory gate--
                                 for I have paid
my debts, having neither father nor mother
nor brother nor sister, I am now granted freedom--
which is the quickest way to death. But I sear
I shall die happy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Room Is My Refuge From Light

Click on image to enlarge
I don't think this poem was ever published.
It is one of a collection of poems that come from The Room Is My Refuge From Light which was then called SONG BOOK, published 1960.
There are many poems for example: On the night of my death which is from The Prefiguration, published 1971.
These are amazing poems. More poems to come.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

More Letters for The Triune, 1969

Denis Sivack, writer, book artist and photographer.

Letters from The Triune - 1969

James Lowell - The Asphodel Book Shop, Cleveland, Ohio.
Nick Kimberley of Compendium Bookshop, London -
Compendium Books was an independent bookstore specialising in experimental literary and theoretical publications.