Page 25 - Jack Foley | The true litterateur
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Reading






                                                    New Horizons





                         Leaving  school  freed  me  towards  reading  again.  I  plunged  into
                         Gertrude Stein and Pound's Cantos. Like Robert Kelly as he tells it
                         in  A  Controversy  of  Poets,  I  felt  transformed    by  Williams'
                         "astonishing"  "Asphodel  That  Greeny  Flower."  I  read  the  Beats
                         with  better  understanding  than  ever  before.  L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E
                         poets  were  just  beginning  to  publish,  and  I  was  aware  of  their
                         work.  A  KPFA  program  introduced  me  to  Kerouac's  marvelous
                         reading style. I read all the Duncan I could find. Michael McClure's

                         essay, "Phi Upsilon Kappa," opened his work to me ("Writing this
                         is  a  kind  of  pain  as  well  as  a  joy  at  the  chance  to  make  a  new
                         liberty"). KPFA broadcast an amazing production of Artaud's great
                         radio  play  Pour  En  Finir  Avec  Le  Jugement  De  Dieu  which
                         included Artaud himself. I immediately hunted up The Theater and
                         Its  Double.  I  also  read  James  Baldwin,  Louis  Zukofsky,  Jack
                         Spicer,  Larry  Eigner,  H.D.,  Amiri  Baraka,  The  Autobiography  of
                         Malcolm  X,  Clayton  Eshleman,  Jerome  Rothenberg  (both  his
                         poetry and his anthologies), Thomas de Quincey (through Borges),
                         Ishmael Reed, Al Young, Neruda, and Adrienne Rich. Through Rich
                         I came upon Judy Grahn's stunning poem, A Woman Is Talking To
                         Death and then her later poetry and her wonderful essays. Walter
                         J.  Ong's  work  became  an  endless  source  of  inspiration  and

                         insight. Gregory Bateson taught me a good deal, as did Carl Sauer.
                         I  explored  the  occult:  A.E.  Waite,  Crowley,  Max  Heindel,  Corinne
                         Heline.  (Her  little  book  on  the  moon  in  occult  lore  is  masterly.)  I
                         finally read Heidegger (to whom Paul de Man was always referring)
                         as  well  as  Wittgenstein,  Gurdjieff,  Whitehead,  Freud,  Jung,  and
                         Foucault.  I  found  reading  Being  and  Time  to  be  a  life-changing
                         experience, an opening into new modes of thinking about human
                         experience. From Heidegger I moved to Hannah Arendt, Her book,
                         The  Human  Condition  was  read  and  re-read:  you  could  learn  so
                         much  just  reading  the  footnotes!  Freed  from  "assignments,"
                         thought  seemed  passionate,  alive,  full  of  things  yet  to  be
                         discovered.
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