Thursday, April 28, 2011

more on Frank Samperi poet-mystic

 it made me happy to see you talking about Frank Samperi on the blog (see 10/27).
 I've photocopied the long piece NIGHT & DAY for you from Cid Corman's anthology THE GIST OF ORIGIN. Yeah-yeah, I know it's against copyright laws, but the anthology is out of print, and as 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. One of the questions I asked the first set of 9for9 poets was, "There's a face of a poet on the kite you are flying over the city. Who is this poet? When you reel them back from the wind what will you ask?"
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 imagine this man's mind as pure witness, tuned to the essential deity of events, and so

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 known 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!
# posted by a Philly Sound Poet PhillySound : 7:33 AM

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hermann Hesse, Translated by James Wright

Uber die felder....

Uber den Himmel Wolken ziehn
Uber die Felder geht der Wind,
Uber die Felder wandert
Meiner Mutter verlorences Kind.

Uber die Strasse Blatter wehn,
Uber den Baumen Vogel schrein-
Irgendwo uber den Bergen
Muss meine ferne Heimat sein.


Across the Fields...

Across the sky, the clouds move,
Across the fields, the wind,
Across the fields the lost child
Of my mother wanders.

Across the street, leaves blow,
Across the trees, birds cry-
Across the mountains, far away,
My home must be.

Einsame Nacht

Die ihr meine Bruder seid,
Arme Menschen nah und ferne,
Die ihr im Bezirk der Sterne
Tostung traumet eurem Leid,
Die ihr wortelos gefaltet
In die blass gestirnte Nacht
Schmale Dulderhande haltet,
Die ihr leidet, die ihr wacht,
Arme, irrende Gemeinde,
Schiffer ohne Stern und Gluck-
Fremde, dennoch mir Vereinte,
Gebr mir meinen Gruss zuruck!


Lonesome Night

You brothers, who are mine,
Poor people, near and far,
Longing for every star,
Dream of relief from pain,
You stumbling dumb
At night, as pale stars break,
Lift your think hands for some
Hope, and suffer, and wake,
Poor muddling commonplace,
You sailors who must live
Unstarred by hopelessness,
We share a single face.
Give me my welcome back.

Poems by Hermann Hesse, translated by James Wright, 1970

Friday, April 22, 2011

Beyond Baroque

Dropped off some books of my father's to be placed in the archive of Beyond Baroque. Wonderful place.
They had two books there already: Infinitesimals and The Kingdom.
They were very gracious to me and said please bring more books to sell in the bookstore.
So wonderful to re-awaken my father's work now.

Beyond Baroque is one of the United States' leading independent Literary/Arts Centers and public spaces dedicated to literary and cultural production, contact, interaction, and community building. Founded in 1968, it is based in the Old Town Hall in Venice, California, near the Pacific Ocean. It offers a program of readings, free workshops, publishing, bookstore, archiving, and education.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quadrifariam Reprinted

How does one go about getting a book published. It is a collaborative effort by the author and his devoted colleagues.
I am looking for Grant money to have "Quadrifariam" reprinted.
Anyone have any ideas?
Thank you to all who are devoted to Frank Samperi's work.

Claudia Samperi-Warren

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Utano 5th January 1977

Dear Frank,
's is not a final testament to my feeling for you by any means. You will understand that even better as other collections appear - but then my work is for all poets - past and present and to come - in whatever guise they manage to appear. And the work can only be - as you above all know -
There was a nice - compact - note from LZ just in too - on the book and I can FEEL his feeling - in his "brevity".
For poetry and poets there is always "room". Whether in Amherst or New York City. No on precludes anyone else. When critics and writers moan that Shakespeare has pre-empted the English stage, etc., I say "hogwash": anyone who hears that heart at depth - and admittedly such hearers are few - knows not better but enough of what illuminates the human spirit and not only can go on from there - but must.
Of course - it is precisely you and the handful of others of similar soul who would "realistically" support ORIGIN - if you had the hard means. But our scarcity makes us only the more vital to each other's "welfare".
I have had 4 out of 6 solicitations answered positively (I sent out 7 altogether and another much later).
JLW and Bronk the two naysayers. The lack of their confidence is saddening - if not surprising. But I keep
trying. If I can find 16 more subscribers - I'll have it "made". (Eric was pleased to have A&O - though he admits - as I expected - he was baffled by it: he does wish you always well.) The crux will be the printer: can I find one to do the job decently at a responsible rate. If I can do 5/6 issues at $4000 - I think I can swing it.
(Mind you it cost me less than $400 an issue 6 years ago here. At least $1000 now for the same.)
I have the word on MULCH PRESS now (POETS & WRITERS has such facts): gone out of operation (in Brooklyn). Someone had suggested they might be interested in my Du Bouchet book.
Back into MANYOSHU woods gradually - as I must complete the book for publication by the summer. Immense undertaking. The work is largely done (9 years at it) - but it has to be gone over with a fine (verbal) tooth comb and involves 100p into. (some of which has been done).
Your words always mean much to me.
How you will keep things going there I cant know (I wish I cd help and in my own way try to) - but I do know you will. Love never abdicates.
always, Cid
Courstey of Bob Arnold, Longhouse Publishers & Booksellers, Cid Corman's Estate.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Periodico de Poesia

Please click on the link below and go to this site where Mario Dominguez Parra has submitted his translations of Frank Samperi's poems from Quadrifariam.

Very nice indeed.

Thank you Mario.


Thursday, April 7, 2011


Days of Atonement

The great Giver has ended His disposing;
the long day
is over and the gates are closing.
How badly all that has been read
was read by us,
how poorly all that should be said.

All wickedness shall go in smoke.
It must, it must!
The just shall see and be glad.
The sentence is sweet and sustaining;
for we, I suppose, are the just;
and we, the remaining.

If only I could write with four pens between five fingers
and with each pen a different sentence at the same time-
but the rabbis say it is a lost art, a lost art.
I well believe it. And at that of the first twenty sins
that we confess,
five are by speech alone;
little wonder that I must ask the Lord to bless
the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart.

Now, as from the dead, I revisit the earth and delight
in the sky, and hear again
the noise of the city and see
earth's marvelous creatures-men.
Out of nothing I became a being,
and from a being I shall be
nothing - but until then
I rejoice, a mote in Your world,
a spark in Your seeing.

by Charles Reznikoff

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Floating Bear - issue #37 - 1969

I was foolish
                   in drinking/ colliding with chairs
the need to believe/ & believing.

:So I have been foolish.
     My heart will not harden/nor inflict its own
cruelty on itself
     But continue
         as its has
      in hoping/ or possible opening/ coming
          & keeping alive.
This is not a funny poem, though we laughed
        Well together/nor do I
                mean a joke if it.....

How to explain
        behind a jukebox & B Girls/ money & concentration
               on money
to No Exclusion,
                 that the eyes see anyway?

So you were not there.
       & we did not meet as you promised.

:I have learned no lesson,
      Only the stars do not resound tonight
And the heart is a lonesome animal.

Mocambo Bar, Topless Dancing Gig, SF

- Janine Pommy-Vega

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Floating Bear - issue #36 - 1969


I have eaten my last pretzel
tongue stings
colleas dying needs water & clipping
I dig
greenthumb people always examine their plants high
plant tell you in fine squeeky vibrations
"I have fungus-- need X03 spray eek."
and you do accordingly

I can hardly believe I'm back in this luminous gray city
can hardly believe the city
poof! it's gone
what a rock
what a magnificent bare rock I sit on now
and miles at sea
like mermaid...

car horn
city recreated by sound
proving Maya just sound vibration
Greeks say movement
maybe same thing
somebody said every object gives off its own sound
I sit here listening to the phone book,
             lamp, typewriter--is this harmony?
glass paperweight has good solid tones

flat planes of roofs in Brooklyn--west side--
            where I stood & saw roofs in snow
John by my side
            Audre's house
flat planes move up & down like these tones
their colors
before the eye

       --Diane Di Prima - click on link - Jacket Magazine 2002 - Interview with David Hadbawnik

The Floating Bear - issue #37 -1969

CANTICLE OF ST. JOAN for Robert Duncan

It is in God's hands. How can I decide
France shall be free? And yet, with the clear song
of thrush, of starling, comes the word, decide
For human agency is freely chosen. I embrace
the iron crown, the nettle shirt, as I
embraced our lord god in the darkling wood
He of silver hooves and flashing mane
Who shall be nameless.
Nameless as spruce and holly, which endure.
Hold St. Michael, but the ace of swords
is bitter! and the grail
not to be drunk, but carried into shelter.
The dragon, my naga, purrs, it lays its claws
about the bars which will soon close around me.
I stand in its breath, the fire, and read love
in its eyes like crystal balls which mirror gore
of the burning, pillaged cities I set free.
O brew me mistletoe, unveil the well
I shall lie down again with him who must be nameless
and sink my strong teeth into unhuman flesh.

Blessed be the holy saints, now and forever.
Blessed be Margaret & Bridget
Blessed be spruce & fir.
The sacred waterfall, Diana's bath, the wind
which brings iron clouds.
They fly out of the sea to the north, they recommend
that I wear woman's dress, they do not see
that I am Luci-fer, light bearer, lead & I follow
Mother, Sara-la-kali, sacred Diana, I could have borne
a babe to our sovereign god but would not
 in this captivity, this blood
on my hands and no other
who seeks to destroy the light in this holy forest
the yellow me call Europe

Where is my helmet? Battle
is what I crave, shock of lance, death cry, the air
filled with the jostling spirits of the dead,
meat & drink, the earth enriched with brain & entrail
horses' hooves sliding, the newly fallen
finding soft soggy bed on the fallen leaves, tears are too light
red with our sorrow as we reclaim the ground
free to lie again with the horned man, the overlords
must build their edifices elsewhere, here we stomp
in our wooden shoes on the bare earth, take in our arms
boughs of the great trees, the misty fabrics of wee folk
flesh of our breathen, soon to grow cold, the children
half imp who live on earth as it were hell, I hear
the Voice, it bids me seek no forgiveness for none
is my share, my blessing is leaden sky, the sacred blood
of the children of forest shines like jewels
upon it.

O am I salamander, do I dance or leap
with pain, can I indeed fail & falling
fall out of this fire? half charred to smolder
black under blackening sky, the god is good
who made the stake strong, made the chains strong, I laugh
I think I laugh I hear peals of unholy laughter
like bells. The cross was ours before you holy men, its secret
there, where the two sticks meet, you cannot fathom.
I hear the cart creak home that brought me, the driver
won't even stay for this end-leap, pirouette.
Inside the grail is fire, the deep draught
melted rubies, blood of the most high god
whose name is Satan, and whose planet earth
I reclaim for the Bundschuh, sons of men.
My hair is burning and the mist is blue
which cracks my brain, I am not in the flame, I am the flame
the sun pours down, the Voice is mighty roar
O little children's bones! the sword & cup
are shivered into stars.

- Diane di Prima