Robert Duncan’s The H.D. Book

Robert Duncan The H. D. Book

Yay! Robert Duncan’s The H.D. Book is finally out. The Collected Writings of Robert Duncan is finally out.


And, of course, it’s from the University of California Press. Who else?

It could save art in America, or so says the Harriet blog:


I remember corresponding with one of the editors about this book less than a year ago. He was telling me of the research he did at, what I unfairly call, the Bertholf Library at SUNY Buffalo, which is more properly known as the Poetry/Rare Book Collection at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The editor was excited. I was excited for him and the book. Oh, it’s going to be good I tell you. It’s going to be good. I think it might be one of those life-changing books.

Mine’s in the mail. Where’s your copy?//

2 Responses to “Robert Duncan’s The H.D. Book”

  1. 1 Pete Landers
    January 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    My copy is on the way from Amazon and I hope to get it soon. Then my wife and I will divide it into study pieces. I do feel a degree of respect for Robert Bertholf, but I do not know why so much of Duncan’s work seemed to languish under his care. Michael Boughan and Victor Coleman are my heroes, or somebody somewhere inside UofC Press, now that Volume 1 of The Collected Writings has come out.

    I think they might be holding off on Lisa Jarnot’s biography until more interest is generated, but I hope that happens soon. The biography can add impetus to a hoped-for snowball effect. Of maybe they want to have the Collected Works ready for the inevitable mad rush they expect when the biography becomes the next favorite reading item for students and teachers of American modernist and postmodernist lit.

    Robert Duncan was brilliant as a proponent of process philosophy, but he also appeals to one of the tenderest parts of us, the wish to build a philosophy of Love that never shies away from the physical as well as the spiritual. He doesn’t accept the given answers, for instance Jungianism, as Olson did, or of political anger as so many who went to that darkness during the writing of this book. He didn’t try to shock people, as some beats who were his friends did. He didn’t use “frankness” as a justification for sensationalism, but he did try to speak and write with absolute honesty.

    I don’t know if it will save American Art. I think the universalization already has made it so that there is little that is uniquely “American” about the art created in the temperate part of North America. But I do believe a practice of poetry along the lines of Duncan will result in more interesting writing, if it could only take hold in the minds of the teachers.

    • January 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm

      That was a great comment, Pete. I think you’ll enjoy the book. The first 100 pages are wonderful. He’s so passionate about and immersed into poetry. It’s a joy to read. I can’t wait to read the next 500.

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