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Paul Blackburn is one of those nearly forgotten in the rush of critics and readers to canonize the Beats and the New York School, and one wonders after reading his amazing poems why his books aren't in print. The Electronic Poetry Center at Suny Buffalo has just added a Paul Blackburn page, with links to a few of his poems and terrific commentary from Jerome Rothenberg and Robert Kelly and Michael Davidson, among others. He was an amazing poet who could parse the spoken idiom and make it sing wi ...more
It would be unfair to say exactly when I have actually read this much occluded poet's collected poems. I dabble at them when I please. They make evident a mind participating in the New American Poetry, whose resources are beyond what I could declare to be this or that. I'll not attempt further explication. Needless to say, Paul's work is largely our of print. He needs to be rediscovered by a new generation of younger poets.
There are some incredible gems in here. But the collection itself is uneven. Some it looks like are scraps found around where he lived and pasted in. But his images are evocative and powerful and his command of the language is true. I really liked a whole lot of these poems.