This selection is meant to be sugestive rather than definitive. It begins with several different approaches to reviewing books by one author, a chapter of a larger study of contemporary poetry by another; and an indirect means of comment by a third.

The second reprints two entries from a single reference work, one dealing with the poet, the other dealing with the Light and Dust web site. Given the time frame we're dealing with, it's difficult to find reference works online, and most available online or in print dealing with this period seem premature. A dictionary of Avant gardes, however, despite seeming almost a contradiction in terms, seems one of the few reference works that I could feel made sense and had credibility without the test of time. In addition to the complimentary nature of the entries from the freference work, it's important to me that it appeared within I believe two months of Jerome Rothenberg and Steven Clay's anthology, A Book of the Book where my corner-stone essay, "Notation and the Art of Reading" appears as the second contribution, in a section called "Pre-Faces," that deals with the beginning of the Book Art movement as it emerged or re-emerged toward the end of the 20th Century, and identifies it and me as basic to the movement, and ahead of the large-scale avalanche that would follow. As important as the dictionary entries are in themelves, it's also important that you can't go more than 30 pages or so in a very large book without encountering an entry that relates to me in one way or another. The Light and Dust entry, for instance, appears within a few pages of the entries for Lettrism and d.a.levy, both crediting me with editing their web sites as primary sources. It's also important that at the time when these to books appeared, they represented two diametrically opposed views of what we might as well call Avant Garde art by editors who were hostile to each other but both saw me as being an essential and unavoidable figure in their summaries of the arts at the moment. Thus in the late winter and spring of the first year of the new millenium, a type of validation comes from an unfortunate antagonism.

The third looks a bit quicically at the nature of commentary emerging in the blogosphere, for better and for worse. A curious aspect of comments on me in the blogosphere is that many bloggers who have writen about me are not close associates now, or are people who have not been for many years.

The fourth part deals with creating an environment in which poetry can flourish instead of on the poetry itself, using several different types of documentation, from memoir to newspaper reporting to a passage from a book of local history. This section is particularly important in suggesting what a couple idealistic kids can do with close to nothing, and moves on to the long-range impact of that activity, using sources outside litrary and art criticism and the second and third. This is particularly important for people who believe that art is frivolous, decorative, or something that has no pratcical use. It is particularly important at a time of ecconomic depresion when the arts may be seen as even more frivolous and irrelevant than ever, but provide more hard-headed, no-nonsense solutions to such problems as real estate values and economic stimulus.

The fifth directs the reader to personal reflection as an essential source of information.

Some of the most interesting and profound comments on me have been single sentences in essays, books, and other sources dealing with something else. I'd like to particularly pay my respects to the occasional offhand remarks of Judith Hoffberg, who wrote the one I prize the most for her magazine, Umbrella. After endless comments on the supposed negativity of my memorials to the victims of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and protests against the further production, storage, and contemplation of use of nuclear weapons, Hoffberg was sensible and perceptive enough to notice that my anti-nuke activities were enormously optimistic, for instance. I'd like to use this as an opportunity to express my appreciation of her percetiveness and, yes, her optimism and perseverance in an arts scene that could be seen as dark and at odds with her basically generous nature.



-Dream History Commentary on four Karl Young books by Joe Napora

-Review of Days and Years by Joe Napora

-Review of a few short lines - book by Karl Young and Sherry Renker, review by Joe Napora

- Bibliophile as Biblioclast by Harry Polkinhorn; from Seeing Power

- More Joy by David Knoebel. Commentary by use of ideas. In this instance, Knoebel used ideas from Young's "Notation and the Art of Reading" for poems integrated into the natural and artifical landscape of 3 miles of Pennsylvania highway. Read the poem. Check out Knoebel's notes and Introduction to Click Poetry



exerpts from Richard Kostelanetz's A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes
Second edition, 2000. New York: Schirmer Books.


(7 October 1947)

One of the great eccentric recluses of contemporary American literature, Young has produced since 1966 from his homes in Milwaukee and Kenosha, Wisconsin, a series of remarkable books, as distinguished for their formal inventions as for his literary intelligence. A printer as well as a poet, Young has used a variety of alternative formats, including poems printed on both sides of a sheet of paper folded in the shape of a folding screen (and thus requiring considerable turning to be read). One masterpiece of book-art is a perfect-bound volume of used, colored blotting papers, nearly three inches thick, otherwise devoid of markings, ehose multiple title establishes a variety of inferential contexts: A Book of Hours/ A Day Book/ A Log Book/ A Thesaurus/ A Workbok/A Book of Etiquette/ A Cumulative Record/ A Hymnal/ A Dicitionary/ An Album/ A Missal/ An Illuminated Book/ A Crib/ A Testament none of which characterizes its blotted pages,unless you take those titles, as I do, to be irnically true. As Associate Editor of Margins (1973 - 1977), the most ecclectic and serious review of alternative publishing ever in America, Young initiated critical symposia on Clark Coolidge and Assembling. The publisher of Membrane Press and Open Meeting Books, Young has also written some of the most penetrating extended critical essays on avant-garde literature and founded the most informative Web site so far for for experimental literature and criticism, Light & Dust at . . . In southeastern Wiscosnsin, Young connects as well to this world-wide literary universe as he could living anywhere else.

pp. 682 - 683


  from Ron Silliman's blog, January 7, 2005:
This entry appeared unexpectedly and was a surprise to me. I was particularly pleased at how perceptive and concise Silliman's comments are. We hadn't been in significant contact for a long time when the blog entry appeared, and our approaches strongly difer. This didn't get in the way of his picking up on half of the major points of what I've done since we put out the Coolidge symposium, and that means more to me than the popularity of his blog at the time this installment went online. He may have over-estimated my generosity and underestimated other reasons for my not developing a "Brand," but if so it's pleasant to se him erring on the side of generosity. Here's what he had to say specifically about me:

Young is undoubtedly the most widely known of the three. Karl was one of the very first poets to understand the potential of computers and the internet as a mechanism for enabling the creation, distribution and archiving of poetry. His Light & Dust Anthology of Poetry is the grand-daddy of web poetry archives & remains a great resource. It was Karl who originally invited me to edit a special issue of Margin[s]on the poetry of Clark Coolidge, which more than anything made me conscious of the value of being able to talk & write critically about new modes of poetry. Karl's own poetry is diverse in mode & impulse. And while he might be more famous today if he were to hone in on a single mode poem around which to build a brand (I'm actually being serious when I say that), what'd really kept him from becoming the household name he deserves to be has been that he's reserved his great energies to promote poetry, rather than to advocate for Karl Young's poetry. That's a generosity of spirit that should never be discounted.

Here's the permalink to the entry

And here's the link to Silliman's ongoing Blog

from Charles Alexander's Blog, April 30, 2009:

I'm just putting in the permalink asince the entry is only about me, and has not rhubarb cluttering up several initial paragraphs. It's particularly important to me in this instance that Charles was a student at U.W. Madison at the time of what for me the full flowering of my Vice-Presidency of Woodland Pattern, and he came regularly to events that I organized. His appreciation of my role in creating the parent organization, co-managing it during this period of flowering, and placing special emphasis on comunity building hasn't gotten lost over time, and he fully acknowledges and appreciates the way he formed life-long artistic ideas, associations, and friendships through the organization when that's what I wanted the organization to do. Like others who haven't said anything about it in blogs, Charles has reowrked some of my ideas into his efforts in Tucson. There is a strongly bitter-sweet quality in looking back at this time, since leaving Milwaukee for what I though would be just a brief period turned out to be the strongest regret over the worst mistake I've made in my life, and I have felt like an exile during the time since. I have made arrangements for my ashes to be scattered back home in Milwaukee if circumstances prevent me from returning.

Of course, aside from this, how could I object to the rest of his comments?

To go to the ongoing blog, click here

Jerome Rothenberg's Poems and Poetics Blog, Saturday, May 16, 2009
Jerry's approach to blogging is to provide quotes from other sources with a brief introduction. In this entry, he quotes the first half of my essay, "Toward an Ideal Anthology." This is a commentary on my online Light and Dust Anthology written in 2002, about half way between the time I started it in 1994 and the present. For the Merlin of contemporary anthologists, this includes all sorts of delightful strands of interconnection. Although just about everybody who has written about me generally in the last decade has mentioned my anthology, and some still claim it's the best or most original or most complex or most thought provoking (or some other superlative), this example has a special position precisely because it's coming from the most important print anthologist (in my opinion, as well as that of a lot of other people) of the last quarter century. It's also important to me since Jerry has included something of mine in aproximately half his print anthologies - the only anthologist for mainstream presses in the U.S. to have done so. On a personal level, we were close friends at one time, to the point where I thought of him and Jackson Mac Low as literary uncles, since I met them when I had formed too much of my literary personbality through reading for anyone I could actualy spend time with to be the kind of father figure that Ezra Pound had been. Our thinking in many areas has seriously diverged over the years, and due to many circumstances have not been in frequent contact for decades. Sad as this may be for me, it does include a slight hint of a potentially bright light. That he still keeps me partially in his loop, considering all the poets he's backed over the years, confirms my sense that he retains some belief in what I do, and that the time when this could be a form of nepotism is over. That Jerry's not altogether gone, even though now distant, touches some profound existential cords. They are deeply personal, but that depth would not be there without Jerry's continued literary respect based on something other than personal history.

Anyway, here's the permalink. The ongoing blog is available by clicking here

Charles Bernstein's Blog, January 28, 2007

My retrospective at Big Bridge drew a number of comments in the blogosphere. To me, the most curious was the entry at Charles Bernstein's Blog. Bernstein annotates his link to the feature plainly and simply "A fascinating two-part retrospective of the publishing work of Karl Young is featured in Big Bridge, along with detailed commentaries by Young." My initial reaction to this was to amusement. I had been refered to the blog by a friend considerably after the entry went online. The blog is not broken into segments, includes huge graphics, and hence takes a long time to load. Bernstein and I share little in general outlook and conception of contemporary poetry and other arts. It is important to note, however, that I, like a number of other poets, have worked with many of the formal properties and conceptual frames as the language poets, but have not wanted to be part of it as a movement. I was curious as to what Bernstein would find facinating in the retrospective. Particularly after I'd had to wait for something like fifteen minutes for the web page to load. I burst out laughing when the entry finally appeared on my screen. But given the way some bloggers simply compile long lists of references to other sites, this entry, by its teasing nature, might have been a mode of promotion. And an exmple of the oddity of the blogosphere.
from Geof Huth's Blog, April 4, 2005
This is a review of what Huth called The Show of the Year held at the Durban Segnini Gallery in Miami. For the complete blog entry, click the name of the show. It was an extremely good show, marking the high point of one trend in U.S. visual poetry exhibitions. The breif passage about me is about as strong as praise gets in art criticism:
But the piece in this show that blows me away, the poem that is visually and verbally stunning, another poem that shows the growth of a master, the poem that teaches us all how to think, the poem that makes me weep with joy, is Karl Young's Punctuation Hands. I cannot bear to describe it, or to say what it means. Make this poem your experience for the day. Just follow the link above and read each of the poem's four panels, one by one. Slowly.




- Water Street Arts Center, Part 1 Contextualized autobiography and comment on starting an arts center whose descendent is still going 37 years later.

-Milwaukee Journal article on transition from Water Street to Woodland Pattern and move to current location on Locust Street.

-Woodland Pattern entry from Riverwest, a local history of the neighborhood where Woodland Pattern resides. Includes comment on impact on neighborhood as well as literary and artistic significance.


Some Volumes of Poetry: A Retrospective of Publication Work by Karl Young

Essays and commentary on alternative publishing and culture of the 1970s; cottage industries, learning to print on the job, poetry readings and how to organize them;
books and their authros: comments on Jackson Mac Low, bpNichol, John Taggart, Carol Berge, Nathaniel Tarn, Robert Filliou, Dick Higgins, Dieter Roth, George Brecht, Steve McCaffery, Hilary Ayer, Kathleen Wiegner; Symposiums on Guy Davenport, Michael McClure, Rochelle Owens, Diane Wakoski, Assembling, Clark Coolidge, Theodore Enslin, Tom Phillips, Ian Tyson, and Joe Tilson;
Water Street Arts Center: how to start an arts organization without a cent in capitol or a grant or other financial support -- and one that's now lasted 34 years, and developed into one of the most celebrated organizations of its type in the U.S.

From Leaf Mosaic - Autobiographical Essays

A Middle American Water Table - On Mexican sources and Middle American Dialogues.

Chinese Couplets and Dialogues - On Chinese sources, Clouds Over Fortjade and related works.

Minimalism's Expansions

The Valence of Fragments

Vocabularies, Fracals, and Semiconductors

Beginning Milestones

Ghosts and Sleeve Pages

Books Printed by Walter Tisdale

Toward an Ideal Anthology Reflections on the Light and Dust Web Anthology.

Acoustic Books at the Begining and End of the World


Karl Young Home Page

Light and Dust Anthology of Poetry