Jacket 18

Diane Di Prima
Photo: Diane di Prima at the Gas Light Cafe, June 18, 1959; photo © Fred McDarrah.

Here are some of my favourite items from Jacket 18, published a decade ago. Doesn’t time fly? One was David Hadbawnik’s interview with Diane di Prima. There she is as a young poet, sitting on a piano in the Gas Light Cafe.

Also, two review pieces on books I think are really important. Here’s one:

One gets the sense that while Rifkin’s approach is androcentric, feminism is playing a role, working to counterbalance the sort of hero-worship from some quarters that exerts a skewing force in our understanding of certain literary figures. She seems to take particular glee in lambasting Olson occasionally; ‘Projective Verse’ is a ‘masturbatory fantasy’ and Maximus reads like a ‘hope chest.’

(From: Insider Histories, or, Really Getting Into Poetry: Linda Russo reviews «Career Moves: Olson, Creeley, Zukofsky, Berrigan, and the American Avant-Garde» by Libbie Rifkin. And «Leaving Lines of Gender: A Feminist Genealogy of Language Writing» by Ann Vickery.)

For more see Jacket 18.

And here’s another, British poet John Wilkinson’s review of Australian poet Kate Lilley’s brilliant collection «Versary»:

Her poems are enormously likeable for such unembarrassed responsiveness, for their lack of interest in being cool, for their eschewal of intellectual showiness (given the true scholar she is) but constant sharp intelligence withal, for their mixture of tears and jest.

Read the review here.

Henry J.-M. Levet
Henry J.-M. Levet

That issue of «Jacket» also contains the remarkable “Postcards: …ten poems by Henry J.-M. Levet (1874–1906)” translated by Kirby Olson, with the French and English. In his Introduction, Olson writes “In order to indulge his eagerness to travel, Levet joined the consular service and served in India, Vietnam, the Philippines and finally in Argentina. He sent his charming verses home to be published in popular journals. In the introduction to the French edition of his poems …. the great French poet Valery Larbaud relates that he read and memorized Levet’s verses, and hoped to meet him when he came back to France on leave. Levet came home sooner than expected with a disease that left him unable to speak. He tried to recuperate on the Riviera, but his strength left him and he died soon after.”

Here’s a stanza with an Austral leaning:

Meanwhile Jane, who is now the companion
Of a healthy and fierce sheep farmer
Adorns with her grace an Australian prairie
Of more than forty thousand acres, they tell me…

Read the poems here.