Letters to Cid Corman


Dear Cid,
             We got a place on the Cape. We'll be leaving the 7th of August. My aunts, Dolores' mother are footing most of the bill, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for that. Yes, the children need to get out of this city. My aunts worry a great deal about the neighborhood, cautioning me always not to let the children out alone, which of course we wouldn't think of doing. If only in a year or two we could get away from the city - for good! how nice just to open the screen door, go to the yard - how nice evening time, sit on the porch, look up at the stars - not sentimental, just simply being human.
I feel now more than ever the solution of my last moments depends upon my getting away from the artificial. I see clearly the structures of The Prefiguration, The Triune (complete), and the final movement that resolves.
On my vacation I'll take only Dante, my only book - still feel the summation of my work lies with the Commedia.
Strange how one's poems group themselves only in the end to reappear continuously as complete structure - the crown the last effort toward a realization of good workmanship.
Take care, Frank

Dear Cid,
Strange that at Cape Cod one feels melancholic over the dying of summer, but here it's different: you can't wait for Autumn, winter we empty the streets, rid them of the stench the fifth the impossible oppressiveness. - wish there were some way for me and mine to stay away for a year at least -
This Autumn along with my Dante work - I intend to study seriously the Upanisahads, only with the Sankaracharya commentaries I was able to get a copy of his commentary of the Brahma-Sutra (a long work some 900 pages) - I remember they refer to him as the St. Thomas Aquinas of India.
Well I certainly look forward to reading your essay on The Prefiguration - you along with Will & Clayton are probably the only one who cares. I've given another manuscript to Eric - Quadrifarium (longer than Prefiguration - almost 300 pages) - hope things go well enough that he'll finally decide to do it.
Take care, Frank


  1. "On my vacation I'll take only Dante, my only book - still feel the summation of my work lies with the Commedia."

    Samperi's devotion to Dante is remarkable (and moving). How many contemporary poets base a poetry & poetics on a single-minded devotion to one classical text? Not many, I think. And that may account for a lot of the current superficiality out there.

    I sort of had the same reverence for Aquinas in my youth: I recall giving myself once the task of reading the entire "Summa" in one summer. Which I almost did. Even brought the "angelic doctor" with me to the steel mills where I worked at the end of my academic year, reading page after page whenever I had a spare hour or so.

    I wonder why (or, more importantly, how) I've lost that youthful capacity to be true to one text, one vision. Time was when Aquinas was the world, universe & heaven to me.

    This Corman post brought it all back: for which thanks,Claudia.

  2. Conrad,
    Thank you for your honest response.
    My father's dedication to his studies was always an inspiration to me. In reading these letters to Cid brings the same inspiration back that I remember when I was younger.

  3. I was there in Manhattan this same 1971 summer visiting (...) who had a cold-water walk-up at
    89 East 2nd St ...
    NOW I am finding out why no one answered my knock-on-the door...
    y'all were "on the Cape"

    while (...) and I were sweating in that NYC August Heat!

  4. Hi Ed,
    Where ya been... yes, NYC has one of the most brutal summers I have ever experienced!
    Those years growing up on the lower east side with no air conditioner, temp at 98 degrees with the humidity at 100%.


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