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.

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!

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


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.


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


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
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
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.

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.

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".