1. "Martial -- XII, LII," CSP, 164.
2. "For Eli Jacobson," CSP, 244.
3. "On Flower Wreath Hill," MS, 42.
An Autobiographical Novel
4. According to notes on the back cover of the first edition of An Autobiographical Novel (1966), Gilbert Highet predicted that "This book may well become one of the classics of 20th Century autobiography"; according to Time, it is "a splendid piece of Americana of a kind that defies academic research"; and according to The New York Times, it "illuminates the texture of an era and portrays the joy of being utterly true to oneself." James Mark Purcell called the book "a minor American prose classic," 10-15. On the other hand, Leonard Kriegel griped about Rexroth being "so self- conscious about his emergence as the young artist and Bohemian he becomes the victim of his own life," though he emerges in the book as anything but a victim." (688). Leslie Fiedler ridiculed "the world of provincial Bohemia..." (10). But Chicago in the early 1920's, when Rexroth claimed that he had conversed there with D. H. Lawrence, G. K. Chesterton, Sergei Prokoviev, Bertrand Russell, Isadora Duncan, Sherwood Anderson, Carl Sandberg, Frank Lloyd Wright, and other world-famous intellectuals, can hardly be described as provincial. AN, 130. References to AN are to the 1966 edition unless otherwise indicated because it was used for the original edition of Revolutionary Rexroth. Hamalian issued the standard expanded edition in 1991.
5. CSP, 139-42. Rexroth told me that this poem was written to Leslie Smith; but it embodies the kind of ecstasy that he described in AN as having experienced also with Andrée and other women.
6. Delia Rexroth," CSP, 186. See another elegy for his mother on 153.
7. AN, 101. See Studs Lonigan, 140-47.
8. CSP, 186 and 153. See also William J. Lockwood's "Kenneth Rexroth's Chicago Poems."
9. CLP, 233.
10. AN, 309. There is a striking resemblance between Rexroth's thought and that of Sapir, who, for example, defined religious sentiment as "a feeling of community with a necessary universe of values." David G. Mandelbaum, ed., Selected Writings of Edward Sapir (Berkeley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press, 1949), 356. Sapir also thought that the best poetic style "allows the artist's personality to be felt as a presence, not as an acrobat," because such artists fit "their deeper intuition to the provincial accents of their daily speech" rather than weave "a private, technical art fabric of their own. "Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1921), 242.
11. "Climbing Milestone Mountain, August 22, 1937" commemorates the tenth anniversary of Sacco and Vanzetti's execution. CSP, 89-90. See also "August 22, 1939," 97-99, and "Fish Peddler and Cobbler," CSP, 318-20.
Excerpts from a Life
12. Ekbert Faas edited the original Excerpts of a Life, a 61 page volumn of material taken from tape-recordings made by Rexroth and published by Brad Morrow's Conjunctions Press in 1981. In Hamalian's 1991 edition of the Autobiography there are a couple of omissions. I do not find the first paragraph of the Faas edition, which so effectively kicked off the story of why Rexroth remained in San Francisco instead of pushing on to Seattle to settle there, as planned: "What kept us in San Francisco was the nearness of the wilderness, Chinese food, and the lack of a literary community," which Rexroth implies could have been a drag. "George Sterling, the overrated star poet of the Bay, had just died, and the novelist Gertrude Atherton was a kind but old-fashioned relic." Instead of marking the beginning of the added material with Rexroth's overview of Bay culture, which includes an enthusiastic portrayal of the lesbian poet Elsa Gidlow, Hamalian begins the added section with a narrowly focused description of Rexroth's apartment. When she gets around to Gidlow eleven pages later, she inexplicably omits Rexroth's informative comparison of Gidlow with the French Lesbian poet René Vivien, and his critical contrast between the personal eroticism of Gidlow's poetry and T. S. Eliot's doctrine of impersonality, all of which Faas had included and which is crucial evidence of Rexroth's positive attitude towards lesbianism. Hamalian also omits a Japanese poem that Rexroth had translated as a youth, which Faas had printed. Despite these flaws, the Hamilian edition, with a useful "Glossarial Index" identifying hundreds of people alluded to by Rexroth, is an indispensable work that belongs in every library, both public and academic.
Rexroth's first publication was "And now old mammal, gall," Blues 1 (June, 1929): 119-20. Other poems, reviews, and essays soon followed in Morada, Argonaut, Pagany, Poetry, New Review, and most important, An "Objectivists" Anthology (1932), containing his essay on his good friend Yvor Winters, the seven page "Fundamental Disagreement with Two Contemporaries," and "Prolegomena to a Theodicy." In 1949 he produced a revision retitled "A Prolegomenon to a Theodicy" in The Art of Worldly Wisdom, dedicating it to Mildred Tokarsky; but since that volume was unsatisfactorily printed, he corrected the poem definitively in the 1953 edition of that collection, and in that form the poem was reprinted in CLP, where it is dated 1925-27.
The first publication of his poetry of natural speech, "At Lake Desolation," a poem of revolutionary tragedy, occurred in New Republic on May Day of 1935. In 1937 his publications proliferated to ten poems and three essays, on Marxism, Planners, and Poetry and Society. James Hartzell and Richard Zumwinkle, Kenneth Rexroth a Checklist of His Published Writings, 7-11.
13. There was much confusion about In What Hour. Horace Gregory and Maria Zaturenska, welcoming "the arrival of a mature and distinct personality in American literature," praised "regional verse that reflected the charm of the Pacific Coast, and the meditative if somewhat belated contact of a poet with the political and aesthetic 'conversations' of his day." A History of American Poetry, 1900-1940, 341. Belated? After twenty years of revolutionary thought, writing, and action? "Conversations" hardly conveys Rexroth's commitment to political and artistic movements; and the value of the nature poems is not that they are charmingly regional, but that they set the tragedy of history within creative cycles of nature.
Rolfe Humphries, another condescending critic, appreciated "a simple-minded man with a liking for the outdoors," whose keen observations lead to true lines, but he scolded "the erudite indoor ponderer" who had the foolish idea that abstractions could be "the serviceable material of poetic art." "Too Much Abstraction," 221. Such dogmatic rejection of abstraction would, of course, legislate against much important poetry.
More than most critics, Richard Foster understood Rexroth's intellectual and artistic ambitions and achievements, praising especially his "memorable and deeply felt articulations of the special sociological traumata of the thirties," singling out "The Motto on the Sundial" as a kind of "The Second Coming." "The Voice of the Poet: Kenneth Rexroth," 380. But Foster did not seem to realize that unlike Yeats' apocalyptic horror of the "rough beast," Rexroth expresses revolutionary hope through the "voice/Preparing to speak," the voice of the oppressed and exploited.
It must be admitted, as William FitzGerald argued, that In What Hour is not integrated stylistically, for there are echoes of Eliot, Pound, Stevens, Crane, Auden, and he might have added Aiken and Winters; but he seems not to have heard Rexroth's distinctive voice, sometimes deliberately parodying other poets for the purpose of critically visiting their worlds, a common technique in modern poetry. "Twenty Years at Hard Labor," 158.
Other reviews of In What Hour appeared in Christian Century, 4 September 1940; Oakland Tribune, 1 September 1940; Columbus Dispatch, 15 September 1940; Santa Barbara News, 29 September 1940; Dallas Times- Herald, 6 October 1940; Providence Journal, 3 November 1940; and the New York Times, 23 February 1941. The highest praise for the book has come from Robert Hass, who claims that the book seems "to have invented the culture of the West Coast." Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry, 223- 224.
14. In American Poetry and Japanese Culture, 122- 128 Sanehide Kodama has offered a penetrating analysis of the Japanese influences on the title poem of The Phoenix and the Tortoise. Reviewing Rexroth's book, Conrad Aiken wrote: "This is an impressive piece of work, very much alive intellectually, as impressive for its obvious integrity as for its range." New Republic, 2 April 1945. August Derleth wrote that the "lines hold to the mind, his images stir before the mind's eye away from the book, his classical allusions are never overdone, he is quotable at almost any line..." Voices (Winter, 1945). Francis C. Golffing wrote in Poetry: "Rexroth's poetic endowment is considerable and it is reinforced by a high degree of humanist culture... The Phoenix and the Tortoise...contains passages of great delicacy, precise yet replete with warmth." Vivienne Koch praised "its searching intensity, its rich consciousness of structure in language, and its powerful, almost apocalyptic view of love..." New York Herald Tribune, 14 January 1945.
15. For more information on the San Francisco Poetry Center see Rexroth's letter to me of February 15, 1965.
Organic Christian Personalism: California and Europe
16. According to the reprinted 1949 preface to The Art of Worldly Wisdom, most of the poems were written from 1927 to 1932, but were not published until "the time which produced them was no longer an element in the judgment of their value." According to the 1953 preface, on the other hand, the poems were written when Rexroth was between seventeen and twenty-one, that is, 1922-27. Still later, in CSP, they are dated 1920-30, but the elegy for Andrée could not have been written before her death in 1940.
Gordon K. Grigsby, noting in the volume the "fashionable influences a precocious artist-intellectual was exposed to in those days" from Eliot, Crane, Pound, Imagism, etc., speculated that Rexroth must have recognized the immaturity of some of the work, for he selected only twenty-one lines from the whole book to reprint in Natural Numbers: New and Selected Poems, and all of these were from "The Thin Edge of Your Pride." "The Presence of Reality: the Poetry of Kenneth Rexroth," 405-22.
Foster complained that most of the poems in this volume "sounded roughly like a series of grunts, mumblings, and blurtings heard through a motel wall." "The Voice of the Poet: Kenneth Rexroth," 378-80. And even Rexroth's old friend Lawrence Lipton could not agree with him that the cubist poems were "simple, sensuous and passionate," as Rexroth had claimed in the 1949 preface, quoting Milton, though Lipton admired them for inventive playfulness. "The Poetry of Kenneth Rexroth," 168-80.
The strongest praise for The Art of Worldly Wisdom came from the classicist Dudley Fitts, who wrote in Saturday Review (in an undated quotation given me by Rexroth): "In poem after poem, the reader will find the firm control, the brilliant wit, the quick ear, and the deep humanistic passion that characterizes Mr. Rexroth's mature work... He is always the convinced, absorbed artist."
17. A few translations from the original edition of The Signature of All Things were reprinted in CSP. Chinese poems by The Emperor Wu of Han and Tu Mu are reprinted in Love and the Turning Year, 5 and 75, and the ones by Tu Fu are reprinted in 100 Poems from the Chinese, 5, 6, 7, 17, 26, and 32. Poems from Greek and Latin are reprinted in Poems from the Greek Anthology, 18, 24, 70, 75, 80, 82-87, and 90.
Reviewing Signature, Richard Eberhart acclaimed "the synthesis of brain and blood," the "slow, controlled, and massive music," "the rock-like foundations of central knowledge and wisdom," the harmony of "cognition and feeling," "the perfection of a form," the "calmness and grandeur" of these poems, "as if something eternal in the natural world has been mastered." New York Times, 6 August 1950. Praise also came from Selden Rodman for the nature lyrics; Thomas Hornsby Ferril for the "fastidious architecture" of the poems; from David Ignatow for the "personal utterances"; and from Howard Griffin for the Latin translations.
18. Beyond the Mountains (program notes, New York: The Living Theatre, 1951). "Phaedra: A Dance Play" had originally appeared in New Directions in Prose and Poetry 9 (1946) 156-86; "Iphigenia at Aulis" had been published in Portfolio 3 (Spring, 1946), Leaf Five, 4 folio pages; and Beyond the Mountains: A Dance Play (later called "Hermaios" and not to be confused with the entire tetralogy) had been issued in Quarterly Review of Literature 4, no. 3 (1948): 155-92.
W. C. Williams wrote, "As verse, reading through them, the plays are a delight to me for the very flow of the words themselves. The pith is there, and there with a jolt to it (in the very line, I want to make it clear) that goes well below the surface... It is a feat of no mean proportions to raise the colloquial tone to lines of tragic significance... I have never been so moved by a play of verse in my time." "Verse with a Jolt to It," 5.
The Greek influence on the plays has been judged most authoritatively by George Woodcock, the Canadian critic and classical scholar: "... the strange combination of the grandeur that was Greece and the exotic splendour that was Asia which occurs in the two final plays in the volume is, in my experience, unique in modern writing..."; and he goes on to admire the "deep philosophic strain running through so much of Rexroth's poetry... deriving from a combination of the Greek and the Asian..." "Realms beyond the Mountains," 84 and 86.
Discussing Japanese influences on Rexroth's plays, Kodama has documenting Rexroth's interest in Noh ever since, as a young man in Chicago, he had acted the part of Cuchullain in his own production of Yeats' At the Hawk's Well after consulting Michio Ito, who had danced in Yeats' plays after conferring with him. Rexroth told Kodama in the 1970's that Pound's translations of Noh, based on Fenollosa's manuscripts, were the best so far; and Rexroth's own plays and essays convinced Kodama of his authoritative understanding of this complex form. Summing up ways in which Noh had influenced Beyond the Mountains, Kodama points to "simple stage setting, a limited number of characters, subtle dramatic responses between the chorus and the characters, concern with the past, and allusions to classical literature," as well as "crystallization of emotion by transcendence" in language and dance; and he notes Noh influences on the direct address and style of Rexroth's non- dramatic poetry as well. American Poetry and Japanese Culture, 128-131. See also his "Kenneth Rexroth and Classical Japanese Drama," 16.
Emiko Sakurai has done the most detailed analyses of Noh qualities in Rexroth's plays so far, examining the functions of masks, costumes, music, props, setting, dance, the language of characters and chorus, Buddhist themes expressed by the Greek characters, parallels between Yeats' plays and Rexroth's, and ways in which Japanese and Greek influences are fused in Rexroth's plays. "The Oriental Tradition in the Poetry of Kenneth Rexroth," 54-86. See also her "The Noh Plays of Kenneth Rexroth: A Study of the Fusion of the Classical Greek and Japanese Traditions," 63-80.
On the other hand, Ruby Cohn doubted the theatrical effectiveness of the plays. "Kenneth Rexroth," 263-65.
19. Reviewing The Dragon and the Unicorn, Fitts shrewdly observed that "It is as though in Rexroth we had a Mark Twain who had grown up; who, without yielding an iota of his sense of the absurd and the pitiful, had discarded the clown's motley for the darker dress of the comic philosopher; and who had miraculously been endowed with the power of making poetry." "A Poet Abroad," 198.
"This poem says more than it suggests," wrote Richard Eberhart. "It says a good deal... This is poetic art and culture history, with personal evaluation of a fantastic kind, managed with freshness of insight and always some new excitement." "A Voyage of the Spirit," 25. Larry Eigner wrote a less enthusiastic appreciation in Black Mountain Review (Summer, 1954): 49-57.
Thomas Parkinson called The Dragon and the Unicorn "a witness to the love of true righteousness, of mercy, of pity, of love, of knowledge and understanding," concluding that it "seems to be the most perfect artistically of the long meditative poems of the twentieth century." "Kenneth Rexroth, Poet," 65. Luis Ellicott Yglesias claimed that "absolutely nothing" during the 1940's "matches it for verbal precision, clarity of intent, and immediacy or depth of perception," preferring it to Lowell's Lord Weary's Castle. "Kenneth Rexroth and the Breakthrough into Life," 101. And Geoffrey Gardner has written the most thorough interpretation of The Dragon and the Unicorn to date: "The Cast Snakeskin and the Uncut Stone.".
20. Reviewing In Defense of the Earth, R. W. Flint found the poet in "plain statement and lyric celebration, secure in old lives, affections, achievements, and memories." "Poets and Their Subjects," 19. Muriel Rukeyser discovered "lyric-mindedness" and "learning that eats the gifts of the world." "Lyrical 'Rage,"' 15. M. L. Rosenthal admired some of these poems for their "'savage' relation to truth"; and though he criticised "Thou Shalt Not Kill" for "the self-indulgent pleasure of the poet in love with his own oratory," he nevertheless called Rexroth "the strongest of these West Coast anarchist poets because he is a good deal more than a West Coast anarchist poet. He is a man of wide cultivation." The Modern Poets, 165-66.
21. Henry Miller praised One Hundred Poems from the Chinese. "Poems That Grow Like Flowers." Williams called this collection "one of the most brilliantly sensitive books of poems in the American idiom it has been my good fortune to read... As a translator of the Chinese poems of Tu Fu, his ear is finer than anyone I have ever encountered." He also admired In Defense of the Earth. "Two New Books by Kenneth Rexroth," 180-90.
22. In The Dharma Bums, which Rexroth told me that he had never read because of his antipathy to Jack Kerouac, he was the prototype for Rheinhold Cacoethes, a "bowtied wild-haired old anarchist" who presided over the birth of the Beat Generation in 1955 (11, 13, and 152). Contrast Kerouac's sympathetic, though superficial, characterization with Mary McCarthy's sarcastic portrayal of "the poet of the masses," Vincent Keogh, crudely based on Rexroth in The Groves of Academe, 272-95. For intimate observations of Rexroth's activities in California from the 1930's into the 1970's, see Janet Richards, Common Soldiers. For an informative discussion of Rexroth's relation to the Beats see Brown Miller and Ann Charters, "Kenneth Rexroth," 456-64. See also Yves Le Pellec, "Souvenirs de la Baie par Kenneth Rexroth," 155-162; Lee Bartlett, ed., The Beats: Essays in Criticism, 1, 2, 4, 43, 134, 149, 187-91, for comments by Thomas Parkinson, William Everson, and Bartlett; and in Sagetrieb 2, no.3 (Winter, 1983), James Broughton, "A Big Bang for Mr. Bangs," 33-36, Thomas Parkinson, "Reflections on Kenneth Rexroth," 37-44, and Lee Bartlett, "Writing the Autochthon: Kenneth Rexroth, William Everson, and The Residual Years," 57-69. Linda Hamalian's interviews of Duncan and Everson concerning Rexroth in San Francisco are also illuminating. Conjunctions 4 (1983): 84- 96 and Literary Review (Spring, 1983): 423-26, respectively. Kodama also discusses Rexroth's role in the San Francisco Renaissance. American Poetry and Japanese Culture, 131-33.
23. Quarterly Review of Literature 9.2 (1957): 1-36. Lipton's Introduction (37-46) establishes the theme of Rexroth's long poems as a "quest for a theodicy," accurately citing such basic influences on Homestead as the Arthurian cycle, Frazer's The Golden Bough, Breasted's A History of Egypt, Proust, Holderin, Apollinaire, Jammes, Rilke, Aiken, and of course Eliot. He shows how "That constant shifting from reverie to narration, from the undersea of the unconscious to geology and archaelogy, from inner to outer and back again, was to become Rexroth's outstanding characteristic." Rexroth wrote about the composition of the poem in AN, 191-201 and 255- 58.
24. Prior to publication of Homestead as a whole, two excerpts had appeared in The Phoenix and the Tortoise: "Adonis in Winter," beginning "Persephone awaits him," was reprinted in CSP, 159, and CLP, 14-15; and "Adonis in Summer," beginning "The Lotophagi with their silly hands," was reprinted in CSP, 160, and CLP, 13-14.
25. Reviewing Bird in the Bush, Alfred Kazin labelled Rexroth an "old-fashioned American sorehead." "Father Rexroth and the Beats," 54-56. But Foster found much to praise, reading it like "a good novel" by a man of purity, joy, good will, conscience, courage, passion, and intelligence, whose humanism he ironically compared to that of Eliot and the New Critics. "With Great Passion, a Kind of Person," 149-52. Thomas Parkinson praised the essays for Rexroth's "trick of imaginative projections into the life of his subjects. "Phenomenon or Generation," 282.
Foster concluded that Rexroth was a vitally intelligent "original," but was less pleased with Assays than with Bird and was incensed by "a mad essay called 'The Students Take Over' which announces a nationwide revolution among students on behalf of national and international integrity"--one of Rexroth's predictions that came true. "Lucubrations of an Outside Insider," 132.
25. James Laughlin wrote on the cover of the New Directions edition of Homestead: "What matters is that a mind sensitive to all the currents of the contemporary situation has put the present and the past together, raised personal experience to an order of values, in a moving and beautiful poem."
25. Alluding to Milton's criteria for poetry, R. V. Cassill stated that in Natural Numbers "Rexroth paints a Rexroth as simple, sensuous and passionate as poetry itself is required to be." "Poetic Feast of Simplicity," 54.
27. "Venice: May Day," Natural Numbers, reprinted in CSP, 330.
28. Reviewing CSP, John Unterecker surveyed Rexroth's development "from egotism to social awareness" and thence to a "more honest... still terribly public... self-analysis..." "Calling the Heart to Order," 8. In a more enthusiastic review of CSP, William Stafford showed how the poems "try to tell the truth. Even the determined imagism of many of the poems conveys an air of not wanting to claim more than what is..." "A Five Book Shelf," 188. Stafford understood Rexroth's intention to show in poetry how value resides in fact, as experienced, despite the depersonalizing claims of Logical Positivists and other intellectuals who isolate facts from values. Or as Fitts put it in an untitled note, "It is not as a kind of latter-day Thersites, the continual complainer of things that are, that Mr. Rexroth will be remembered, but as the loving, wise celebrant of man in his relations with his fellows and with the earth that takes them all." New York Times, 8. Grigsby showed how the naturalness of the poems in CSP results from self-discipline. "The Presence of Reality," 1-23.
The Buddha's Way: Asia
29. The Heart's Garden was acclaimed by Richard Eberhart in "Poems of a Japanese Sojourn," Hayden Carruth in Hudson Review (Summer, 1968): 404, Emiko Sakurai in "Oriental Tradition," 153-201 and 202-208. Luis Ellicott Yglesias, favoring Rexroth over Lowell and other American poets of the 1960's, called The Heart's Garden "a perfectly realized meditative poem." "Kenneth Rexroth and the Breakthrough," 96- 110.
Also see Kodama's definitive interpretations of The Heart's Garden and other poems and plays by Rexroth influenced by Japanese traditions. American Poetry and Japanese Culture, 121-53; "Kenneth Rexroth and Classical Japanese Poetry," 47-52; and "Rexroth and Women," 30-35. Seiza, entirely in Japanese, also contains essays on Rexroth by Kodama, Kaneseki, Nakayama, Yaguchi, Katagiri, Gary Snyder, and myself. Yo Nakayama of Kyoto Seika College and Yasuyo Morita have listed much information about Rexroth in relation to Japan in Kenneth Rexroth Shoshi, 1984.
30. Samuel Baity Garren has done the most thorough analysis of CLP so far in "Quest for Value," 1976. Reviewing CLP, Lawrence Lipton wrote, "Kenneth Rexroth has moved from experience to consolidation... He is a major poet of the greatest gifts." Los Angeles Free Press, Part 2 (10 January 1969) 23.
31. After the Buddhist allusions in Homestead I do not find any in "Prolegemona to a Theodicy" (written between 1925 and 1927), the short poems of the 1920's collected as The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1949), or the short poems of the 1930's in In What Hour (1940). From The Phoenix and the Tortoise (1944) the influence increases, until by 1967 his outlook is predominantly Buddhist. Concerning Asian influences on Rexroth's work generally, see my "Rexroth's Dharma," 27-37; "Kenneth Rexroth in Japan," 23-28; and "The Buddha-Mind of Kenneth Rexroth," 19-20.
32. An Autobiographical Novel, 339.
33. Excerpts from a Life, 53.
34. He was happy that his students in a "Poetry and Song" workshop at USB "produced several folky rocky numbers, four jazzy-torchy, 4 'art songs' with flute, bass, cello, viola, piano, a bit on the Vaughan Williams Bartok side - but atonal - or polymodal." Letter to me of April 15, 1969:
35. Denouncing both Nixon and Humphrey Rexroth had written me on July 21, 1968:
36. He said of a draft of my first book about him: "It does seem to me to portray me primarily as an anarchist and give less emphasis to the religious and nature mysticism and to the erotic mysticism." But after sending me some corrections and receiving the published book in 1972 he exclaimed, "Gibson on Rexroth just came & is great - very conscientious & very complimentary. I am deeply grateful." (Undated letters to me.)
If it's Tweedledick and Tweedlehump this Fall, people are going to flood out of the country. In California it will certainly be Max Raferty. No nation on earth has 3 top politicians like Rafferty, Reagan, Murphy. And do you realize that Wallace will get twice the percentage of vote of the W. German 'Neo Nazis' who are far less reactionary?
37. Kodama praised the Japanese translations in "Rexroth and Women," 30-35. Rikutaro Fukuda found them "brusk." In the Shade of the West: Essays on Comparative Literature, 158-59.
38. Discussing New Poems, Leslie B. Mittleman preferred Rexroth's translations to his original poems. Masterplots, Frank N. McGill, ed., 209-11.
39. See Ling Chung, "Kenneth Rexroth and Chinese Poetry," 1972. Elsewhere she reports, "How fast and directly could he grasp the pathos of a Chinese poet! How in the most accurate and unexpected ways could be transform and recreate an image from the Chinese poetic language into English." "Forty Years in Between," 11-13. Also, see William J. Lockwood's "Kenneth Rexroth's Versions of Li Ch'ing Chao."
40. Concerning Rexroth's career as a painter, see Beatrice Farwell, "Kenneth Rexroth: Life at the Cultural Frontier," Gallery Notes, with reproductions of some of his paintings and a cover photograph of Rexroth by myself.) Farwell was Guest Curator of the Rexroth exhibition at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Professor of Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Rachelle K. Lerner's dissertation at the University of Toronto masterfully explored Rexroth's painting in relation to his poetry, with especial attention to his theory of cubism.
41. I am indebted to Carol Tinker for information about the funeral in her letter to me of 17 May 1984, and to Father Huerta for information about the Roman Catholic baptism and for permission to quote from his unpublished eulogy," In What Hour," in his letter to me of 29 July 1985.
See my "Tribute," 179-82; my obituary in Poetry Flash 113 (August, 1982): 8; and Jean W. Ross' Interview of me in Contemporary Authors New Revision Series 14 (Detroit: Gale, 1985): 400-403. Eliot Weinberger's own obituary first requested by The Nation was then rejected there by an editor who ruled out Rexroth as a "minor writer" and "sexist pig," although the periodical had published Rexroth's work ever since the 1930's and he had promoted many women poets. Weinberger's obituary was published as "Kenneth Rexroth 1905-1982" in Sulfur 5 (1982): 4-6. Weinberger reported on some editors' antipathies to Rexroth in "At the Death of Kenneth Rexroth," 45-53.
42. In Kenneth Rexroth yaku, Marishiko.... Katagiri honors Rexroth's myth of the poems' origin. See also Kenneth Rexroth Hanawa..., including The Silver Swan. and Kenneth Rexroth, Kokoro no Niwa, Hanawa no Oka nite, sonota no Nihon no Shi, Katagiri Yuzuru yaku..., including The Silver Swan and my "Kaisetsu" [Comment] on Rexroth's Buddhism, 96-102.
Because of the great influence of Kukai and Shingon Buddhism on Rexroth's poetry and thought, he had urged Murakami and me to publish our English version of Kukai's poetry, with commentaries, first in Zero (Fall, 1979): 176-188, and then in our Tantric Poetry of Kukai (1982).
43. "Kenneth Rexroth's Epiphany: June 6, 1982," 16.
44. A few of the early reviews of Selected Poems are: Tom Clark, "Natural Wonders"; James Hazard, "A Thin Valuable Look at Rexroth's Poetry"; Marjorie Perloff, "Poetry and the Common Life," 160-164; and my own in American Poetry (Fall, 1985).
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Light and Dust Anthology of Poetry