Notes for Chapter 4
of Morgan Gibson's Revolutionary Rexroth

1. Contrasting Pound’s “When the nightingale to his mate” to Rexroth’s “When the nightingale cries,” Thomas Parkinson has brilliantly shown how the older translation calls attention to its own artistry, whereas Rexroth focused on love through the words of the poem, as if wisdom were more important than art as an end in itself. “Kenneth Rexroth, Poet,” 56-57.

2. Selected Poems of D. H. Lawrence, 70.

3. Jacob Boehme, The Signature of All Things (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1934), 91.

4. Quoted by Evelyn Underhill in Mysticism (New York: Dutton, 1961), 58.

5. Quoted by Sidney Spenser, Mysticism in World Religion (Baltimore, Maryland, 1961), 269.

6. The theme, form, and refrain of “Thou Shalt Not Kill” were adapted from “Lament of the Makeris” from The Poems of William Dunbar, edited by W. Mackay MacKenzie (Edinburgh: The Porpoise Press, 1932), 21:

      hes done petuously devour
The noble Chaucer, of makeris flowr,
The Monk of Bery, and Gower, all thre:
      Timor mortis conturbat me...

7. W. C. Williams wrote that “Thou Shalt Not Kill” should be displayed in all universities, in “Two New Books by Kenneth Rexroth,” 183.

The Collected Longer Poems

8. Assays, 151-52.

9. The prosody of “Prolegomena” and other poems is discussed by Lipton, “The Poetry of Kenneth Rexroth,” 168-80, and Van Ghent, “Some Problems of Communication,” 73, 95, and passim. For comparisons with pre-literate chants, see C. M. Bowra, Primitive Song (New York: World, 1962), 63-88.

10. Kintsune’s poem is included also in One Hundred Poems from the Japanese, 42.

11. Excerpts from a Life, 32.

12. Kenneth K. S. Ch’en, Buddhism: the Light of Asia (Woodbury, New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 1968), 160-61. The original Indian sutra of 400,000 lines is no longer extant as a whole, but Thomas Cleary has translated some of the extant portion from Chinese as The Flower Ornament Scripture (Boulder and London: Shambala, 1984) vol. 1.

13. According to Kang-Nam Oh, in the relativistic and organic philosophy of the Flower Wreath Sutra reality is a process of “interfusion and dissolution, co-existence and annihilation, adversity and harmony.” “Dharmadhattu--An Introduction to Hua-yen Buddhism,” The Eastern Buddhist 12, no. 2 (October 1979): 72-91. For a Zen interpretation of the Flower Wreath philosophy, see Christmas Humphries, Buddhism (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin), 150-51. See also the recent work of David Loy.

14. Yoshito S. Hakeda, Kukai: Major Works (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1972), 213. For expression of this philosophy in poetry see Gibson and Murakami, Tantric Poetry of Kukai.

15. The Flower Wreath cosmology is compared with Leibniz’s monadology in Masaharu Anesaki, History of Japanese Buddhism (Rutland, Vermont, and Tokyo, Japan: Tuttle, 1963), 94. Leibniz’s influence on Rexroth is shown in his poem “Modads.” CSP, 176.

16. Kodama has briefly compared Rexroth’s Japanese allusions in The Phoenix and the Tortoise to Pound’s method of superposition of images and Eliot’s method of reflecting Dante’s Divina Comedia in The Waste Land. American Poetry and Japanese Culture, 122-28; “Kenneth Rexroth and Classical Japanese Poetry,” 8-13. For my comments on Kodama’s work see my review of American Poetry and Japanese Culture in Comparative Literature Studies and in “Rexroth’s Dharma,” 29-30.

17. In the Preface to the 1952 edition of The Dragon and the Unicorn Rexroth made comparisons with travel writings by Mark Twain and by Clough and Rogers. See “Amours de Voyages,” written in 1849, in The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, H. F. Lawry, A. L. P. Norrington, and F. L. Milhauser, eds. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951), 177-220, and Samuel Rogers’ “Italy,” Poetic Works (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1966), 221-451.

New Poems and The Morning Star

18. One Hundred More Japanese Poems (1974) 9. Other translations of Akiko and notes about her appear on 5-20 and 110-11 of this volume and in The Burning Heart: Woman Poets of Japan (translations by Rexroth in collaboration with Ikuko Atsumi), 63-66, 87, and 149-50. These translations, her life, and her work, are examined by Keiko Matsui Gibson and myself in “Yosano Akiko,” 1713-19.

19. In 1976 five of the Marichiko poems had originally appeared in One Hundred More Poems from the Japanese, 37-41, with Romaji versions by himself and Yasuyo Morita, and with a note that “MARICHIKO is the pen name of a contemporary young woman who lives near the temple of Marishi-ben in Kyoto,” 114. Variants of four of these poems were printed with eight others as “Translations from the Japanese of Marichiko” in New Poems, 37-42. Not reprinted in The Morning Star was the first poem of the 1978 edition of Marichiko, “Full Moon.” The Watershed Foundation (Washington, D. C.) has issued a tape recording of Rexroth reading some of the Marichiko poems with Akiko’s poems in Japanese and English, with Japanese music. See Kodama on the later poems in American Poetry and Japanese Culture, 144-53.

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Copyright © 2000 by Morgan Gibson

Light and Dust Anthology of Poetry