Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cid Corman with Phillip Rowland - Flash Point Mag.

CORMAN: Yes, Frank is one of them. In fact, I just got a letter, my most recent letter from Bob Arnold yesterday, saying, "Shouldn't we do a Selected Samperi?" And I said yes, we should, as soon as we have the means. I have contact with his daughter, who controls his work now -- of course, he died some years ago -- and his letters to me, as I've said a number of times, I think are his masterpiece -- his letters from the beginning of his career to the time virtually of his death -- six months before his death. (He was a little angry at me at the end -- for no reason, really. I think his ill-health contributed to it. It was a silly thing to argue about with me -- not important.) His last letters then were to Clive Faust, an Australian poet, because I put them in touch and they got along fine (maybe because they never met). But Frank was an offbeat character in many ways, very gentle person, very sweet, very handsome guy. He had no parents, he was brought up by nuns; and they didn't treat him very well. He was obviously a very gentle and retiring, shy person; and they took advantage of the boy, I'm afraid. So he had very mixed feelings -- although he was very religious, not a church-goer, not that kind. He became a scholar, of theology, and also a very fine mathematician. And he never finished, I don't know if he finished high school, so he couldn't get a job as a teacher. He should have been a university professor; that probably would have kept him alive longer too. He ended up marrying one of the ladies in his life. They came over here right after they got married, because of me, and lived here for several years. They had two children -- well, one was born here and the other one was conceived here. And they lived in a much better situation than I did. Through friends we got him a teaching job. Of course, the fact that he wasn't a university graduate didn't matter very much. So he taught in Osaka area...

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So Close - The Prefiguration - 1971

Drawing by Claudia Warren

against light you my wife gather flowers along
the river reflecting hill and forsythia
at night, your fragrance dissolves metaphor

in the midst of the collapse our room dark our
speech our love the background

our bodies naked given up to each other reveal
the ecstasy the earth

the world a river flower reflecting light revealing
a river flower the world reveals our love in love

your odor returning night the bed our love returns
sea our first year

body to body our night less boundary than fragrance
releases bird hill river

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bhagavad-Gita As It Is -1968, 1972

Plate 39: The Supersoul is the original source of all senses.
He is unattached, although he is the maintainer of all living beings.
He transcends the modes of nature, and at the same time he is master of all modes of material nature.

The Supreme Lord, although the source of all the sense of the living entities, does not have material senses like they have. Actually, the individual souls have spiritual senses, but in conditioned life they are covered by the material elements, and therefore the sense activities are exhibited though matter. The Supreme Lord's senses are not covered. His senses are transcendental and are therefore called nirguna. Guna means the materials modes, but His senses have no material covering. It should be understood that His sensual activities, He has transcendental senses, which are not contaminated by matter.

"......It is a deeply felt, powerfully conceived and a beautifully explained work.....I have never seen any other work on the Gita with such an important voice and style. It is a work of undoubted integrity. I have strongly recommended this book to all students interested in Sanskrit and Indian culture. It will occupy a significant place in the intellectual and ethical life of modern man for a long time to come."

Dr. Shaligram Shukla
Professor of Sanskrit
Georgetown University

Being a religious person, my father studied many books on the subject. As a child he never forced the Catholic religion on us but made a point that we hold our love for God inside ourselves.
The mystery remains inside and my father's poetry remains a mystery as well.

A poem from Sappunta - 2004

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.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Poems from Letargo, Frank Samperi, 1980

                                          Drawing by Claudia Warren.

the day'll come
when I'll sit on a bench
to look out to sea

the bright water   sky
conjoint dissolver
of the dispositive

settled back in wood
 on slope







Monday, February 14, 2011

Earth & Sky, Robert Lax, 2000

earth & sky

the                                the
earth                             stars

the                                the
earth                             stars

the                                the
sky                                trees

the                                the
sky                                         trees

the                                the
earth                             earth

the                                the
earth                             earth

the                                the
sky                                sky


the                                the
growl                             sing
ing                                 ing
wind                              air

the                                the
wav                               sing
ing                                 ing
tree                               air

the                                 the
growl                             earth
the                                tree
ing                                 the
tree                               sky

earth & sky and white light
The book is the result of a journey to Patmos and the kind response of the poet who lives there. Printed and designed by William Cirocco. Pen & Ink drawings by the Robert Lax.

Sunday, February 13, 2011



For an end, a constant ending: images from a life counterpoised with imageless reflections. Smoke rises, spreads over roofs. In the room a sparrow huddles against the wall, near books and china. We discuss the transcendent and the satirical, and find ourselves wondering: a novel? The streets of paper blacken. Burning animals amongst burning trees haunted the child. You cannot get from A to B by walking a line from one to other. The girl's eyes habituated to begging touch your lips, burning them. Memory's blasted. He'll keep a record of the epiphany in his breast pocket, if not sewn into the lining of his coat.


-You can't call any writing that's not concerned with drug-taking contemporary, someone said. -The analogy being a mirror...?-Are you who I think you are? he asked, and mentioned my name. -No, I replied, I'm somebody else. The long process of revision appealed to me with its possibilities of erasure and reversal. A layering of memories and images. A hand touching, a finger travelling along the line of affection. Late; voices loud, in the heat. No form of rhetoric could be adequate to what needs to be said, one to another. Drawn from her face, as we talked: an edge splendent in the obscurity. Unbearable to recall.

By David Miller, published by William Cirocco, Hawhhaven Press, San Francisco, CA.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Letter from Will Petersen, Feb, 1969

Frank, it is right that I publish THE PREFIGURATION. This summer I will be able to do it.
So much comes clear. The work goes well,, family life is a delight---We work as one. I expect we will falter, lose the vision, stumble, take a false turn....
But how grateful I am that I'm no longer twenty or thirty! To be 40 and past so much, it is so good. I would not want to go through those pains again.
Only one more comment, and the rest must wait: Your letter ending: "See, I've started this letter feeling sorry for myself..." Looking over so many unmailed letters, I find letter after letter beginning in despair, grief, self-pity, confusion and ending with the spiritual--ending with an awakening, a realization of form. And happening so often with a word or a name that entered the letter and then altered its course...Zeami, Dante, Ryokan, St. Francis,...I'm not saying what I feel I want to say. I suppose this is where I err--dissecting. What is to be said is sayable only in the work. The work is done. Needs only typing up. I can send it off. And now I can, at last, return to the stone, complete the "from the Triune" print that has been so long in limbo. I'm eager to send it to you...
you are the only one who knows what I'm doing. the only man able to offer criticism.

"The fear of God" I've never comprehended, and always questioned. For love knows no fear. But it comes to me now, as I say: friendship is a frightening thing. Awesome. For one cannot be false.

Well, sir. How good it feels. There is nothing to say!
Namu Amida Butsin
In Gassho,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Letter from Robert Kelly, 1998

Claudia, dear,
This is for you I meant to send it earlier - or give it to you in SF when I read on Day - best to you, Robert.
This thanks you for it beautiful book you made of Frank's work-
(wonderful letter from Robert kelly)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Correspondence from Richard Aaron, June 30, 2004

Dear Claudia,
I live up near Eureka in Northern California. I forgot to say what an extraordinary experience it has been to handle the letters of Frank Samperi. Each time I have reason to open the box where I have placed the letters it is as though beams of light surround my body...he must have been an extraordinary man. I know of his difficulties but he was touched by the essential. I hope to enter his poetic work once I have completed the description of the rest of the letters that I have to describe by the hundreds of others who wrote Cid Corman. I will be very eager to read the letters from Corman to your father.
Good to be in touch and I wish you well.
All the best, Richard.

Correspondence about Day, 1997

A letter to Sean Carey, from Dublin, Ireland, about publishing "Day", David Miller and John Martone.

December 1, 1997

Dear Sean,

Your letter was received with warmth and sincerity. It came at a good time, my mom and brother, David were visiting for Thanksgiving.
As a family, we are always surprised when God sends us a sign that there are people out there that care about my father's work. John Martone was one who cared, we met last year and out of that he has done some small works, such as MANIFESTATIO. Yes, he is the most caring man I've met with such a passion for my father's work since David Miller.
I don't know if Cid mentioned that I'm a painter, I have a studio in SM and have been painting since I was quite young. Growing up in NYC allowed the exposure of all the Arts, Dance, Art and Literature. At an early age I was listening to opera, I don't recall having many friends or friends that listened to much opera if any. Our days were conversational at the dinner table and holidays were kept with an Italian tradition. I loved being a young human being under my father and mother's care. My father was the most wonderful person I've ever met and the loss is very deep, I have a hard time believing he is gone from this material earth. But in spirit he is always with me. My last words to my father were that I would take care of the WORK. I want nothing more than to get all his work published.
Some how the cards have turned, I'm actually in the process of having a small work of 50 poems called "Day" written in 1970 published by my employer. I work for a publishing co. that puts out a computer graphics Industry magazine. He has agreed to do 400 copies depending on the cost. Interweaved in the poetry I will insert 8 4c works of my own paintings. I'm not sure how to go about distributing the book at this point but I will send out copies to a select group of people. I 've also written David Miller on this matter.
Your request to take on the editing is very heroic, however, the Samperi family needs time to consider this request. I'm sure you understand that I am not able to send you copies, the archive must stay intact. I've learned to take one step at a time.
Please write again and tell me what presses you have locked in and then maybe we can start from that point. As far as copies go, well there are not many left so you will have to go looking, we are down to very few. Of course I will send you a copy of Day when it comes out, in January is the expected date. Again thank you so much for the letter I was touched and lets stay in communication.

Have a wonderful Christmas

July 20th, 1998
Dear Claudia,
DAY a real joy to behold on my return from a holiday. I offer you my sincere congratulations. The very high quality of your own art & the same vision present in your father's poetry. A lovely blend. I salute you for what you have achieved. Pointing the way that I think you should take with your father's poetry. Giving you total control of how his work should be published. By you. I really hope DAY is the start of the process Claudia. I hope the book will get a good reception in America.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lumen Gloriae - 1973


Golden maiden in a brazen tower
Behold Jupiter his golden shower

after supper in chinatown
we walked home along the Bowery
our attention
quickened by crash
somebody put a rock
or something or other
thru a shop window
then ran up the stairs
of the hotel
a few doors down

when I got off the bus there she was
I hadn't seen her for almost 3 wks
we walked up a ways to the cottage

moonlight in the room
our bodies exhausted from loving
we lay talking
sleep surprising

vacationers by the hundreds
climbed the sand dunes
and then at intervals
ran down recklessly
what seemed like steps

body in grass
elliptically formed
in turn inscribed
in square
in flame


water lilies
                  and the reflections

the heart skips a beat
when the sun withdraws

something like a fall

an elevator from the 15th
to the 1st
without a stop

Lume Gloriae first published in the United States of America in 1973 by Grossman Publishers, New York, NY. Copyright in Japan, 1973, by Mushinsa Limited. Printed in Japan.