Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wow!

ARAM SAROYAN
THE MAXIMAL
(A MORE TRULY COMPLETE)
MINIMAL POEMS








INTRODUCTION

This post celebrates the full measure of Aram Saroyan’s minimal poetry.

Such celebration might seem unnecessary, redundant, or just plain late. Since its Spring 2007 publication, Saroyan’s Complete Minimal Poems (Ugly Duckling Presse) has received many positive notices, maybe more in this period than any other experimental poetry collection.

In addition to numerous kudos from reviewers in specialty publications and the blogosphere, Complete Minimal Poems was praised in the New York Times Sunday Book Review and won the 2008 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America (see endnote #1, below, for a list of and links to some of these reviews). A year after its publication, the book topped the Small Press Distribution poetry bestseller list for a four-month stretch, and went into a second printing.

What could a little ol’ reader like me possibly now add to all this?

Well, let’s start with this: Complete Minimal Poems is not complete, and the omissions amount to far more than a few overlooked poems. Regrettably, the book does not include approximately fifty (yes, 50) Saroyan minimal poems that most certainly should have been in it. Part I of this post documents and celebrates these missing poems.

In addition, Part II of this post celebrates the work of Saroyan that arguably could have been included in the Ugly Duckling book. This work was published in the same general period as his minimal poetry, and is closely related to those poems. Included in this group is Saroyan’s “electric novel” (titled cloth) which as explained below seems in retrospect to be a minimal longpoem, odd as that may sound.

Finally, part III of this post celebrates the minimal poems Saroyan wrote in collaboration with other poets. While such work obviously was appropriately excluded from the single-author Complete Poems, it should be recognized and celebrated as part of Saroyan’s achievement in minimal writing.

I’ve had HUGE FUN doing the seeking, finding, and reading, reading, reading necessary to write this post. In addition to quoting in full several poems (not difficult with Saroyan, since they often are just a few words in length), I’ve also included scans of the covers and other matter from more than a dozen Saroyan books that contained minimal work.

I’ve also had HUGE FUN getting to know the full measure of Saroyan’s minimal poetry. Even the disappointing discovery regarding the Ugly Duckling edition’s shortcomings hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for Saroyan’s minimal works. In fact, my admiration for Saroyan’s achievement has only increased through my reading of: (1) the approximately 50 poems that should have been included in the Ugly Duckling book, (2) the minimal writing that’s closely related to the (and could even be called) minimal poems, and (3) the collaborative minimal poems.

I’ll put it like this: if the work in Complete Minimal Poems strikes you, as it did me, as mind-blowing, then the achievement of Saroyan’s minimal work in the full measure of its resplendent glory is (I request here your indulgence):

MIND-BLOWINGINGINGING!

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I.

THE INCOMPLETE COMPLETE MINIMAL POEMS



COMPLETE MINIMAL POEMS
(New York:Ugly Duckling Presse, 2007)
(cover altered to make the point that’s discussed in detail below)

The term “Complete Poems” has no universally agreed upon meaning, apparently. The dictionary defines complete as “having all . . . ; lacking nothing; whole; entire; full.” However, it is not unheard of for a “Complete Poems” to exclude some work, even though I think most would say that a book with that title ought to attempt to include everything the poet finished, or at least published. But because there are no rules about this, perhaps the most a reader can ask is an editorial note explaining in some detail what if anything was left out, and why.

The Ugly Duckling Complete Minimal Poems has no identified editor. It includes only an very terse statement about what was included, and nothing at all about why many poems were left out. An acknowledgements section at the back of the book simply lists where some of the poems had been previously published. The only editorial statement, if it can be deemed that, comes in a short blurb on the back cover, which states that the book “gather[s] together” Saroyan’s minimal poems from the 1960s.

However, and as detailed below, this “gather[ing]” substantially shortchanges Saroyan’s work, even if the 1960s is assumed to be the only time period that matters: for reasons not explained, more than thirty minimal poems published by Saroyan in that decade are not included in the book. The Ugly Duckling edition also does not acknowledge that about fifteen minimal poems from the early 1970s also aren’t in the book, nor explain why these were deemed inappropriate.

The Ugly Duckling Saroyan is a beautiful book. But it isn’t close to a complete volume of Saroyan’s minimal poems, as the book’s title and back cover hype seem to promise. Given the number of missing poems, the absence of any editorial explanation is -- and I’m being very, very polite here -- extremely disappointing. In any event, here’s a detailed rundown of what was missed:

In 1966, the publisher 0 to 9 published a mimeographed edition of Saroyan minimal poems titled coffee coffee (the lowercase is from the original cover, a scanned image of which is presented after the endnote below, along with the covers of other Saroyan books that included minimal works). Thirty of the 34 poems in coffee coffee consist of only a single word; the four that don’t have a single word, or two, repeated multiple times. Each poem, including those with but a single word, is printed on a separate page, and is centered on the page.

Only five of the poems in coffee coffee can be found in the Ugly Duckling edition. That means that twenty-nine (29!) poems were left behind, including the marvelously understated:

oh

the beautiful on the page, fun on the tongue:

added
the sharp, tonsorial:

haircut

and the long long long long cold cold cold cold:

winter
winter
winter
winter

I trust the point has been made here, without needing to set out the rest of the two dozen plus poems that were not included. The above poems, as is true of the others left out from coffee coffee, are solid works even if they may not all be instant minimal classics along the lines of Saroyan’s orthographically altered single word poems (e.g., “eyeye” or “lighght”).

Saroyan’s poems made of a single, non-altered word (of which there are a handful in the Ugly Duckling edition) generally come alive with a kind of stony resonance, but usually it takes a good hard stare and time to bring on. Thus, a poem from coffee coffee such as

acre

might not seem like much at first. But then there’s the fascinating way the silent “e” at the end is indeed silent yet somehow also manages to transpose its phonetic sound to a position before the letter “r” which precedes it. Plus there’s the fun of thinking how a relatively small (four-letter) word came to signify 43,560 square feet. These single word poems may take a good long look to get going, but when they get going, they can really move the mind. I’m reminded of Clark Coolidge’s comment that when Saroyan would stare at his (Saroyan’s) own single word poems, each word at times would “start to look like a funny little animal.”

But regardless of the relative merits of these single word poems, they certainly are minimal poems – quintessential minimal poems, perhaps – and most certainly should have been included in a book called “Complete.”

Unfortunately, the almost thirty poems left out from coffee coffee aren’t the only Saroyan minimal poems from the 1960s not included in the Ugly Duckling Complete. Of the eleven poems in IN (bear press, 1965 [see scan in endnotes below, including of the tremendous Ted Berrigan introduction]), eight made it in. Of the three poems not included, one arguably isn’t minimal, but the other two certainly are. One is a prose poem of the objectivist, be-here-now variety, a definite sub-type of Saroyan’s minimal work:

Almost Midnight

I type & think & look at the painting of Poe & out
the window there’s the top of my head, to the left
and behind me, is the bookcase.
I love how the ampersands of the first line, as they curve and cross within themselves, somehow convey the churning, turning, complicating processes of engaged but scattered thought and vision, and then how the ampersands completely vanish in the second and third lines, just as the scattered, churning processes of the poet’s mind vanish as everything resolves into the details of the reflection (unstated but sure enough right there) in the window.

Also missing from the Ugly Duckling edition is one poem from Saroyan’s Works (Lines, 1966), and one from Aram Saroyan (Lines, 1967). The poem missing from the latter chapbook has an interesting variation regarding how the words are arranged on the page. While each of the three words in the poem is on its own line and are more or less in the center of the page, the words are justified to a margin on their right-sides, so that they align vertically at their ends. It’s a neat reversal of the tyranny of the left-side margin often found in poetry:

                                                                                aim
                                                                   ambulance
                                                                               gum


The Ugly Duckling book also leaves out all four of the poems in Saroyan’s The Beatles (Barn Dream Press, 1970), including the first poem of that volume, the immortal unforgettable:

John Lennon

And, I’m sorry to report, there’s yet another big bunch of poems missing from the Ugly Duckling that should have been included. The book reprints none of the minimal poems written by Saroyan in 1973 and published by him in Day By Day (Fell Swoop 61, New Orleans, no date [but in or after 1979]). This side-stapled limited edition (200 copies) reproduces holographic poems individually dated by Saroyan and which in the book he states were written during his family’s first spring in Bolinas. Many of these poems are full-line, multi-stanza works, and thus not minimal. But about 10 or 12 of the poems in Day By Day certainly are minimal, even if only the very shortest -- those with just a few or several words, over a line or two or maybe three -- are counted.

I suppose the good folks at Ugly Duckling might suggest that they limited their book to minimal poems from the 1960s. But of course the book isn’t titled Complete 1960s Minimal Poems. Saroyan himself has said that he wrote a “very few” minimal poems while in Bolinas. So again, if the Ugly Duckling Book were to truly live up to its title, these Day By Day poems would be necessary, including for example (please note: typewritten text is used here in place of Saroyan’s holograph):
the stars
are me
too
or:
Wood
Smells
So good.
and (a favorite, a minimal poem that could be optioned for a major Hollywood film):
SEA CREATURES

Invade the earth!
There are also two or three additional minimal poems, not in the Ugly Duckling, published in Saroyan’s Day & Night: Bolinas Poems (Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press, 1998).

So taking all the above into account, here’s the maximal scoop: the Ugly Duckling Aram Saroyan Complete Minimal Poems is short about 50 no-doubt-about-it minimal poems. O me. O my. What the heck happened here?

II.

SAROYAN’S SATELLITE MINIMAL TEXTS
(Minimal Poems By Any Other Name)

In addition to the 50 or so poems that no-doubt-about-it should have been included in Complete Minimal Poems, there’s other writing by Saroyan, from the same general time period, that arguably could have been included, or at the least must be acknowledged as directly related to the minimal poems. There is, for example, the writing in:



WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS
(Chicago: Big Table Publishing Company, 1970)
6.5" square
[there was both a hardcover dust-jacketed, and a softcover edition]

The title says exactly what’s in the book, and everything (the words and photos) in it is by Saroyan. The book sets up the words (usually just a single word, but sometimes two or three) in the center of the page (sound familiar?), with a photo en face (on the opposite page). Some of the photos have an actual identifying caption; the words opposite aren’t really captions, but word-poems that mostly mysteriously relate to the opposing photo. Saroyan here almost totally, and convincingly, reverses the canard about a photograph being worth a thousand words: sometimes just one is exactly perfect, thank you very much. Here are three of the book’s 37 pairs of words and photographs, displayed via scans that closely replicate the look when the book is opened to the pages reproduced (each of the six individual images can be enlarged in a new screen by clicking on it):



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You gotta love the symmetry-echo of the last word-photo pair, with the lengths of the letters “P” and“ l” and to a certain extent “t” suggesting, in an off-kilter, turned-sideways kind of way, the look of the stacked dishes. And you also gotta love the sonic resonance in the middle pair above, the hum, of “Umm.”

But you really, really gotta love the first word-photo pair above, and in particular the poetic thing-iness of “This.” Saroyan here provides no indication whatsoever of whether that word is being used as a pronoun, adjective, or adverb. That ambiguity only adds to the mystery of why it’s paired with a shot of Lisbon rooftops and sky, or how this most common word can act as a sentence (complete with period) all by itself. To me, the word as used by Saroyan has, to use Roman Jakobson’s phrase, a “weight and value” of its own. A single word -- a signifier -- whose materiality is emphasized: that’s a minimal poem, I do believe, and one quite consistent with a key principle of, among others, the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writers.

The year after Words & Photographs, Saroyan published a tremendously (to use a term of that era) far-out text titled cloth with the tripped-out subtitle an electric novel (the lowercase is used both on the book’s cover and title page) . Although subtitled a novel, and referred to as such no less than seven times on the front dust-jacket flap, I think it rightly should be considered a minimal poem. More accurately, if oxymoronically, the book’s a minimal longpoem, maybe the only such work ever. Here’s a scan of the cover, with publishing details:



cloth
an electric novel
(Chicago: Big Table Publishing Company, 1971)
5.25"H x 6.5"W
[there was both a hardcover dust-jacketed, and a softcover edition]

Saroyan’s cloth ain’t your usual “novel.” First, it’s an electric novel. Electric as in plugged in, turn-it-up rock ‘n roll, I believe, in that the book’s dedicated to Chuck Berry; and possibly also, considering the era in which it was written, electric as in lysergic acid diethylamide. The book is also, as stated on the dustjacket flap, “a novel without sentences, plot, or characters.” And it’s further, again borrowing from the dustjacket, “a novel that is a kind of toy,” and a novel that “helps to define where experimental writing is.”

What the book actually has is a series of single words centered on pages (sound familiar, fellow lovers of Saroyan’s minimal work?). The words are organized into four roman numeral designated sections of about two dozen words each. The words are printed only on the rectos (the right sides of pages when the book is opened), with the versos (left sides) left blank. Thus, each of the book’s approximately 100 words strongly inhabits – dominates – its particular given space, just as do Saroyan’s single word minimal poems.

This arrangement means means that each separate word must be taken in on its own, and thus each word, potentially, can take on a life of its own. In short, each word becomes an opportunity for intense poetic reverie, a word-poem in itself.

Take for example (to pick a word from cloth at random):

hunch

which appears early in the first section. I read that word and think about its two main meanings, and how those meanings seem unrelated to each other. I think also about the connotations of those respective meanings. I think too about the word’s physical appearance on the page – its existence as an object – as well as its constituent letters and phonemes. I think about the word’s sound. I even, if it’s the middle of the day and I’m hungry, think a bunch about lunch.

Of course in cloth -- and this in part is why I think the text should be considered a minimal longpoem -- the reveries on a particular word are further reflected in the prism of the words and reveries that come both before and after the particular word being read. Here’s the word from the book quoted above (“hunch”) with the three words preceding and then following it (remember, each word is centered on its own page, with a blank page opposite):

nine

turn

Saturday

hunch

out

green

perfect

This particular combination can serve as a typical example of the word-strings found in cloth. The words when read -- forwards, back, or jumbled -- form no grammatically correct phrases; indeed, there’s not even discernible rational connections word-to-word, let alone a foregrounded narrative.

Hmmm. That all sounds like, and the words certainly can be read as, a kind of experimental poetry. “[A] rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” Although cloth was called by Saroyan himself a “novel,” I hereby submit that it’s a minimal longpoem, of the abstract variety. It’s rich with words juxtaposed into parataxsis and words laid out to emphasize their qualities as objects, with the reader given great freedom in constructing meaning. That, my friends, is a poem! To include cloth in the Ugly Duckling edition would have been a stretch, I do admit, and would have increased the size of that book considerably, but it would have been grand, as well as appropriate.

(Almost scandalously, used copies for sale of cloth: an electric novel have all but disappeared from the places even seasoned book-hunters would look. Fortunately, UbuWeb has the book it in its entirety – click here to go to the title page, and then click on it and each succeeding page.)

Another Saroyan minimalist work from the same general period is Gertrude Stein (Lines, 1967). The Utah Eclipse site – where the chapbook, listed under Saroyan’s name, is available for viewing (click here) – states that although published anonymously there was or is “little question” as to work’s editor. The book takes snippets of language (words) from Stein’s As Fine As Melanctha and centers them on 17 pages, just a few words per page. For example:

Between today.

Here’s another example, a lovely, suggestive three-word (three-sentence) combination:

Cunning. Likely. Breezes.

Gertrude Stein is a wonderful experiment in high-end minimal appropriative writing. The anonymous or appropriative character of this particular work arguably makes it unsuitable for inclusion in a Complete Minimal Poems, but I’d put it in. At the least, Saroyan’s Gertrude Stein must be recognized as part of his achievement in minimal poetry.

Another late 1960s Saroyan work, © 1968 Aram Saroyan (New York: Kulchur Press, 1968), also should be mentioned as a minimal poetry satellite text. It consisted of an unopened ream of typing paper on which was stamped the title, Saroyan’s name, and the publisher. It’s probably better called a conceptual work, but on the other hand I sometimes think that selling the reader a stack of blank paper was the most radically beautiful act of minimal poetry ever.

III.

SAROYAN’S COLLABORATIVE MINIMAL POEMS

I’m aware of two published collaborations of minimal poetry that Saroyan took part in. One is San Francisco, a very small unstapled and unbound booklet of just five poems done with Andrei Codrescu (I don’t know who wrote what). Here’s the cover and publishing details:



SAN FRANCISCO
(San Francisco: Fits Collective, 1972)
(4.25" square)

One of the poems in San Francisco strikes me as particularly charming, a sly, concise, and humorous mini-primer on the vagaries of English pronunciation, particularly as that concerns Saroyan’s first name (the hand-printed poem of the booklet is replaced with typed text):
ARAM

Aram with a hard A
like in America
Saroyan also collaborated on a collection of minimal poetry with Larry Fagin. The publication, while stating its title and authors on a title page, provides no other information about where, how, and when it was done (a knowledgeable bookseller on-line states it was probably done in about 1968). The cover is decidedly, and I think winningly and hilariously, minimal:



POEMS
([no place listed]: [no publisher listed], [no date listed](1968?)
11"H x 8.5"W


This Fagin/Saroyan collaboration is a mimeoed and side-stapled book (or booklet), and contains seven poems (again, I don’t know who wrote what). All the poems are identical in structure: a capitalized single word title beneath which, after just a bit of blank space, is a short (no more than six word) sentence. Each poem, natch, is on its own page, and all text is centered on those pages. Here are a few examples (note: I’ve inserted the asterisks, simply to indicate separation between distinct poems):

FEAR

My shoes are under the table.

*

WONDERFUL

The telephone just rang.

*

LOVE

Today is Thursday.


These Fagin/Saroyan minimal poems appear gnomic, yet their truths, if terse, are not readily apparent. In fact, the relationship between any particular title and its paired sentence seems deeply hidden. These qualities, of course, are precisely what makes these poems so great (and funny too).

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CONCLUSION

Are you still with me? Well, thank you very much. There’s still an endnote you may find interesting, and then the scans of some great Saroyan book covers and other stuff (once again, allow me to recommend the Berrigan introduction to IN).

As for all that’s said above regarding Saroyan’s minimal poetry in its full maximal resplendent glory, I think what I wrote near the top of this post ought to be repeated, if only because I believe it deeply, and find it so fun to type:

MIND-BLOWINGINGINGING!

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Endnote and a Collection of Scans:

1. Some of the reviews received by Aram Saroyan Complete Minimal Poems include (click on each listing to be taken to it): Ian Daly, in Poetry Foundation on-line (August 2007); Curtis Faville, in Jacket 34 (October 2007); Alex Jovanovich, in Art Lies 55 (Fall 2007); Patrick James Dunagan, in Galatea Resurrects 8 (November 2007); Ron Silliman, on his blog, announcing the book as his selection for the William Carlos Williams Award (April 18, 2008); readers on Amazon.com from New Zealand and Japan (spring 2008); Richard Hell, in the New York Times (April 27, 2008); Paul L. Martin, schoolteacher, on his blog (May 2008); Joshua Cohen, in The Jewish Daily Forward (June 2008); Andrew Rippeon, in ArtVoice (August 2008); Michael Ford, on his blog (a minimal (three word!) review) (November 2008); and, Larry Bedikian, in The Armenian Report (November 7, 2008).

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ARAM SAROYAN PUBLICATIONS CONTAINING MINIMAL POEMS:
A SELECTIVE PICTORIAL AND CHRONOLOGICAL LISTING

Intro: The scans below do not repeat those found in the blog post above. For listed book dimensions, height precedes width. With regard to book content, it should not be assumed that each publication shown below contains work unique to it. Saroyan often re-published work, particularly from limited chapbook editions to the trade editions; thus, a poem that appeared in one of the earlier books below might also have appeared in two or three other later books.



IN
[subtitle on title page: A collection of eight poems]
(La Grande, Oregon: bear press, 1966)
8.5" x 5.5"
[150 signed and numbered copies]
[introduction by Ted Berrigan]
[two poems not included in the Ugly Duckling]

The Berrigan introduction is a terrific, special, wondrous thing. I’ve tried to super-size the scan below, but if you can’t make it out, be sure to click on it to open it up super-large on a new page:

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WORKS
[subtitle on title page: 24 POEMS]

(No place: LINES, 1967)
7.5" x 5.5"
[all minimal poems, one of which is not included in the Ugly Duckling]
[book dedicated, “To Clark Coolidge”]
[all text within book printed in red]


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SLED HILL VOICES
(LONDON: Goliard Press, Christmas 1966)

5.5" x 6.5"

[13 minimal poems, all included in the Ugly Duckling]

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coffee coffee
(New York: 0 to 9, 1967)

11" x 8.5"
[all minimal poems]
[see blog-post above re: those not included in the Ugly Duckling]


[a re-print edition was recently published by Primary Information in New York]


+++++++(+)+++++++



Align Center
ARAM SAROYAN
(No place: LINES, 1967)

8" x 5.25"
[all minimal poems, one of which is not included in the Ugly Duckling]


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ARAM SAROYAN
(New York: Random House, 1968)
11" x 8"

[there was both a hardcover with dust-jacket, and a softcover edition]
[entirely minimal poems, all included in the Ugly Duckling]


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PAGES
(New York: Random House, 1969)
8.25" x 5.5"
[there was both a hardcover with dust-jacket, and a softcover edition]
[entirely minimal poems, all included in the Ugly Duckling]

The back cover of PAGES reproduces a typewritten statement by Saroyan that emphasizes the importance of his typewriter to his poetry; he calls his machine “the biggest influence” on his work (click to enlarge):



This back cover statement on poetics is echoed by, and amplified in, something Saroyan wrote regarding his minimal work just a few years after the above, and which he included at page 82 in his The Street: An Autobiographical Novel (Lenox, MA: Bookstore Press, 1974):
“I was the typewriter, the typewriter itself, I guess. [¶] I was letting it come through me . . . Not like I had written it myself. It was more like it had been beamed to me from outer space, the only person availble at a typewriter who didn’t have some predetermined use in mind for it. [¶] The only person in New York or the whole world honestly ready to write a one-word poem.”
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THE BEATLES
(no place: Barn Dream Press, 1970)

3" x 4"

300 copies

[not included in the Ugly Duckling]

[a second edition of 3,000 copies was done for BOX (a quarterly), 1971]
[a third edition of 400 copies was done in 2000 by Granary Press of New York]


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THE REST
(New York: Telegraph Books, 1971)

7.5" x 4.75"

[approximately 100 pages of minimal poems, all included in the Ugly Duckling]

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TELEGRAMS: ARAM SAROYAN SPECIAL ISSU
(Philadephia: Telegraph Books, no date (but 1971 or 1972)

5.5" x 4.25"
[includes “seven answers” by Saroyan (i.e., answers to questions),
plus
seven minimal poems (all previously published)]


Some of the information in the “answers” concerns minimal poem-making, including this illuminating discussion of method (lower case in original):
“i did lots of different experiments. one way of writing, for instance . . . was to sit at my desk and listen to whatever noises i heard and try to make poems out of them. or whatever i saw, literally at my desk, try to make a poem out of it.”

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Day By Day
(New Orleans: Fell Swoop 61, no date [but in or after 1979])
[each poem individually dated, all in 1973, and all in Saroyan's holograph]

11" x 8.5"
[cover image: “The Pink Shell” (1979), by Gailyn Saroyan]
[see blog text above re: minimal poems not included in the Ugly Duckling]

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8 comments:

Ryan said...

Steven,

Great post and research work. CMP was co-edited by project editor, James Hoff, with Aram. Many discussions were had about how the book should be presented and what it should contain. In an email Aram explains the process:

"The poems in the UDP book are each individual works, whereas books like
coffee/coffee, The Beatles, and cloth aren't reducible to separate works. Although the words on individual pages of those books might be taken for separate poems, they were in these three compositions conceived as part of a
whole structure. For instance, the book The Beatles is, literally, the
names: John Lennon/Paul McCartney/George Harrison/Ringo Starr on successive right-hand pages. The same right-hand-page-only structure, which I learned more or less compels the reader to turn the page, also obtains in both cloth: an electric novel and coffee/coffee; the words and/or works on individual pages even if they recur in CMP are meant to be part of the whole structure in these books. And the structure, as I say, fosters page-turning. All of this was discussed with James before we decided we
wanted to go forward with CMP rather than say, coffee/coffee.

Complete Minimal Poems gave me the opportunity to place the poems in both Aram Saroyan and Pages, which were printed on right-hand-pages-only, on both
right and left hand pages, thus making the book a collection rather than a page-turner, as it were. I'd originally thought that structure would foster contemplation. So you learn from your "mistakes," as they say."

I think it'd be great if these other works, poems, interviews or whatever they should be termed would see wider dissemination...

Keep up the good work. I'll be reading the glade more often from now on.

Completely yrs,
Ryan Haley
Ugly Duckling Presse

Steven Fama said...

Thanks much, Ryan, for stopping in, for the kind words, passing along the e-mail from Aram S., and setting out some of how the book came to be what it is.

I think the book might have been better called a "Collected" as opposed to a "Complete."

Or maybe even titled in a way that would have entirely side-stepped the "Complete" or "Collected" difficulties, but have been catchy (if overly so):

Aagain
Minimal Poems
by
Aram Saroyan

or, along the same line:

Oncemore
Minimal Poems
by
Aram Saroyan

Thanks again!

Curtis Faville said...

Steve:

Based on your interest in this stuff, you might consider taking on a bibliographical task.

I ran into Bob Hawley this week. He's getting really old, and may not be in a position to preserve his archive of Oyez material. Someone needs to do a biblio on it--as was done for Auerhahn and White Rabbit. You interested?

Collecting is fun. There's also the work to do.

Did you contact Aram about your post? Might be a courtesy you should consider. He would be happy, I'm sure, to answer your implied questions.

Paul Belbusti said...

Thank you very much for this post. It's a wonderful companion to the Ugly Duckling volume, which is essential for any poetry reader's collection.

Name: Matthew Guenette said...

Had you not actually included images from the actual text, I would have thought the whole post was fictional, a hoax.

Or, as a Saroyan, might write, in one of his mind-shattering minimal poems:

HOXE

...

Anonymous said...

Hello,

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http://ny.bloomsburyauctions.com/detail/NY034/136.0

Sincerely,


Peter Costanzo
Specialist, Books & Manuscripts Department

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Sorry for offtopic

Rachael Ringenberg said...

Hi Steven,
This is quite an impressive site you've put together. I wanted to let you know the Black Sparrow Books is publishing anew book by Saroyan titled "Door to the River: Essays and Reviews from the 1960s into the Digital Age." It will be coming out at the end of the month and if you'd like more information, please check out the website or contact us about it.

http://www.blacksparrowbooks.com/isbn.asp?isbn=9781567923964

Best,
Kate
David R. Godine Publisher
Black Sparrow Books
blacksparrowbooks.com
info@godine.com