"From about 1930 on, a conspiracy of bad poetry has been as carefully organized
as the Communist Party, and today controls most channels of publication except
the littlest of the little magazines. . . We disaffiliate."
—Kenneth Rexroth, 1957
Richard Denner asked me for a section from my work in progress, Visions &
Affiliations: A California Literary Time Line —Poets & Poetry 1940-2005, forthcoming
from Pantograph Press. This is the section dealing with the 1960s.
I conceive of the book as a portrait in motion of a scene that stretches over
sixty-five years. People, ideas, and stories appear, disappear, and reappear as the
second half of the century moves forward. Poetry is a major element in this
kaleidoscopic California scene. It is argued about, dismissed, renewed, denounced
in fury, asserted as divine, and criticized as pornographic. Poetry is as Western as
the Sierra foothills, and the questions raised here go to its very heart. Beginning
with the publication of Kenneth Rexroth's first book, In What Hour, this 800-page
history-as-collage plunges us forward into the 21st Century.
Andrew Joron writes of the book, "Your timeline brings home the fact that the
creative ferment in this period, in this place, rivals any world-changing cultural
conjuncture (such as occurred in Paris, Berlin, London, New York...) in modern times."