Frank and Cid - 1975

22nd December 1975

dear Frank,

               Still nothing on GIST (beyond a squib in a St Louis journal - which wd have no effect on anyone -
though it has warm intentions). Eventually there will be some notices - in the small mags. Surprisingly - however- the first report on sales (1st 3 months presumably) far exceeds my expectations: more than 1/3rd of the edition has been sold. If it could move at the same pace for the 1st year - it would be astonishing - but the initial flurry - I suspect - will be the bulk of it. (This holiday season - of course - may help a little.) In the face of such determined silence - it is certainly a notable feat. (It means - amongst other things - that your own work has become visible to a much larger audience than heretofore. Over 1100 copies involved.
               Since I've been given an advance and also purchased a large quantity myself - I'll receive very little income from the book (next fall) - but wd be more than content if the book cd go into a 2nd printing and/or paperback form.
               Your allusion to the "master" is understood - of course. I just received 22-23 from the publishers today and will be reading it later. More immediately moving to me a very self-effacing quiet meditation in prose - that has a lot of poetry in it - by Jaccottet.
               Reading Rimbaud's ILLUMINATIONS in our workshop has radically deepened my regard for him/his powers of vision. MYSTIQUE is a poem there that would approach you. And much else.
               He broke his back (leg/Heart) of course trying to make ends meet - devotedly. I know what it feels like and with you wish too for a little ease in that department. At any rate - warmth in a cold season - and poetry of  "this our art". Love always, Cid

Courtsey of Bob Arnold, Longhouse Publishers & Booksellers, Cid Corman's Estate

Dear Cid,
             I think it is true to say that both Dante and Rimbaud stand behind my Morning and Evening as form (altho the opening as figure has Wittgenstein, whom his work ultimately misunderstood, which his work ultimately shows: he who has eyes stands seriously before that augustimism mysta gogue laconically)
Rimbaud to me wrote the Book of Youth, that is, the New Life - that he did not go on to write his Comedy is one of the sorrows of modern letters, because he of all others had established the foundation - and yes! his eye is one of the finest most natural of our time... of course, I didn't draw form his rebellious side (Miller on that account did more harm for us here - "the Beats" more a wake phenomenon): his resolution of Baudelaire not something to be side-stepped: island-hopping le vous l'aucre! leads to Romantic Disillusionment (and are there not examples today of those poet who pose as materialists poking fun at Romanticism, and yet drawing all their strength and imaging from the I-Dwellers!?) for me Rimbaud is a far deeper philosophical spirit than Mallarme, that is to say, he never bought the Poe postulate which the line Baudelaire-Mallarme-Valery did (Oh! how one shudders under the ramification spicer-Zosky here!).. altho it is seemingly far-fetched there is harmony between Rimbaud (his works) and Wittgenstein (his Tractatus) who sees this! who dears see it!
so you see, the richest richness is the richness of implication which at its deepest is poverty of spirit: subtlety is fine, but over-subtlety is sophistry and of the nature of a tongue twisting glittery technique.
          That you say that there is a poem much else of Rimbaud that would approach me is indeed a high compliment and I thank you (who reads and writes any degree of understanding or vision today! so much to be reaped from my work, but it remains as if far under... Take care, Frank

Courtsey of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


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