Warren Tallman: “Poets in Vancouver” (1963)

Vancouver Poetry Festival of 1963 was a Shindig of the first sort, a Conference if you will, a life saver and changer.

Aaron Vidaver

Introduction and Notes by Aaron Vidaver

In light of new interest in the 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference and Robert McTavish’s forthcoming film The Line Has Shattered, I’ve reviewed my research from 1997-1999 and started to dig around again. Below is what I believe to be an unpublished essay by Warren Tallman written in the fall after the conference. It was prepared for an international audience (an editorial note in a margin of the typescript asks him to explain who Margaret Avison is: “who’s she? (This to be read by readers in several countries)”) although there is no indication of the venue. Since there are only passing descriptions of the conference in his two books—as “month-long poetry klatsch” (1976: 183) [1973], “month long Götterdämmerung poetry klatsch” (1992: 205) [1985] and “gathering of the Romantic clan” (1992: 230) [1986]—this piece provides a missing account.

Tallman leaves out mention of local…

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Poets In Placitas – links – March 12, 2016


creeleys me placitas darker touched up

Bob Creeley, Bobbie Creeley (Louise Hawkins), Ron Bayes (visiting), Sara & Kate Creeley, neighbor kid and me (1964)

Robert Creeley    https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/robert-creeley Start anywhere, go everywhere . . .

Bobbie Louise Hawkins took these home movies from 1962 to 1965. http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Hawkins-Creeley.html

Allen Ginsberg at the Thunderbird

Charlie Vermont, a poet from New York

Thunderbird Bar Intimate History https://larrygoodell.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/thunderbird-bar-intimate-history-2/ Notice that there are 3 links at the end of this blog post to 3 interviews I did with the friends who were integral to the Thunderbird in its heyday (it went through several stages). Some of the interviews are chaotic, some repetitious but I did the best I could preserving what was on tape.

Thunderbird Flight http://larrygoodell.blogspot.com/2012/02/thunderbird-flight-for-t-bird-show.html Just a poem of mine. And a song I wrote about remember the T-Bird. http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=1014013&songID=12311636&showPlayer=true

Ann Quin https://www.facebook.com/Ann-Quin-372495999441/?ref=hl This is Ann’s own blog which she continues long after her death. Ann was a pal and continued to be a pal to me and Lenore for as long as she lived.

Ken Irby, A Memento https://larrygoodell.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/ken-irby-a-memento-by-larry-goodell/ A great mind, a great poet with music always in his writing.

John Moritz Broadside for Ken Irby 1976 https://larrygoodell.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/john-moritz-broadside-for-ken-irby-1976/

Judy Grahn http://www.judygrahn.org/ Judy brought light to us here in Placitas before she went to the West Coast and illuminated common women for everybody.

Bill Pearlman’s Inzorbital  https://larrygoodell.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/inzorbital-by-bill-pearlman-reviewed-by-john-brandi/  “In the ambiguous warmth of a Solar Dome, Inzorbital, condensing madness into fury, scrawled a blazing script under the towering influence of Fervent Mountain.” In Placitas 1967-72, then again from ’92 to 2003.

David Franks  https://larrygoodell.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/david-franks-in-memory-of-david-some-postcards/   Andrei Codrescu remembers David for NPR  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123747163
I want to say a prayer
For all that has been given
All that has been received, It is said
They are all the same.
100 bluebirds swarmed the back yard.
David Franks

Kell Robertson  http://kellrobertson.outlawpoetry.com/2012/03/14/larry-goodell-remembering-kell/  This appeared in Malpais Review.

A Few Notes Concerning My Friend Stephen Rodefer (1940-2015)
https://larrygoodell.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/a-few-notes-concerning-my-friend-stephen-rodefer/  Thanks to Steve we did a major reading/performance tour in the 70’s.

Latif Harris  https://larrygoodell.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/duende-press-resurfaces-with-barter-within-the-bark-of-trees-by-latif-harris/ Bill Harris edited my first book Cycles. The Berkeley Poetry Conference changed his life (1965) since he came out here to study with Bob Creeley and . . .

Laurie Macrae A very Placitasy poem: http://www.dukecityfix.com/profiles/blogs/the-sunday-poem-laurie-macrae-the-reason-we-wear-our-baseball

Zocalo Theater in Bernalillo

Gary Brower http://malpaisreview.com/Issues.html Utterly amazing ongoing journal of poetry only. From Placitas, yes.

Poet & Artist Friends – Part 1

Poet & Artist Friends – Part 2

Related: Flyers for events at the Living Batch Bookstore are mostly here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/larrygoodell/sets/72157637605719694/

Retrack, retrail in Placitas after Vancouver ’63 for me http://www.larrygoodell.com/#!untitled/masterpage_7

Artspace article about my works premiered at the Thunderbird and in Albuquerque: https://issuu.com/larrygoodell/docs/artspace_1976_larry/1

Note: From the 2009 Literary Heritage of Placitas event at Anasazi Fields Winery, part of the Duende Poetry Series there are so far two recordings available online: Lisa Gill reading from selections of Bobbie Louise Hawkins, and Art Goodtimes belting out Creeley’s Ballad of a Despairing Husband.

Please write me with suggestions, links, comments . . . larrynewmex@gmail.com and many thanks to John Roche and the Placitas Community Library for arranging the Poets In Placitas events on March 12, 2016.

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Peggy Pond Church & Florence Hansen McCarty to Larry

Two women writers react to my sending them poems. First is the renowned Peggy Pond Church (1903-1986) in Santa Fe. I’d been sending her copies of duende magazine in the early 60’s . . .
house otawi bridge peggy p churchPeggy-Pond-Church
Peggy Pond Church, 1964 letter to Larry
peggy p church51SQ4502BHL._SX300_BO1,204,203,200_
What a fine letter with a big measure of absorbed truth. Her liking Creeley and Levertov convinced me she’s probably right. Is there a built in stricture of “communication” in the words that blew up in my face and became poems? Of course my wild daring-do is part of my nature and has been since reaching puberty in Roswell, New Mexico.

Now a letter from a part of the extended William and Luella McCarty family, true pioneers whose notable family origin was in Clyde, Kansas. Nine children including my grandmother. Florence McCarty was married to one of them and wrote stories and articles most of her life, and I’m the warmly appreciative possessor of her letters to my Grandma Goodell, Aunt Virginia and others in the family.

Florence McCarty articles 1990 and 1992

Two historical biographical books by Florence McCarty. The arrow on the right indicates where she lived in Creede, Colorado

From Florence McCarty, Writer, in Glendale, Arizona (married to my Grandmother Goodell’s brother Lorin McCarty)
July 7, 1988
Dear Larry & Lenore

Thanks for Seven Sonnets. I must admit it tries to introduce me to a kind of poetry I do not understand.

We, you and I, are 3 generations apart. Longfellow and I have always been good friends. His Evangeline is my style.

I have caught up to Haiku and Cinquains but yours is different.
I think I am too dense to grasp it. Surely “Even” indicates some thoughts I fail to grasp. [“Even” is one of the sonnets I sent. You can see all the sonnets (songnets) here.]

Don’t think I am criticizing. I have belonged to groups studying all kinds of writing. Poetry has been passed along to be read. Some people exclaim fervently. Others just stare and quickly pass the paper on. I dropped into a poetry class at the Univ. of Colo. and couldn’t understand a thing, so soon ducked out. Really, I’d like to know what I’m missing. My mind can’t seem to catch what to others may be a real find –

I wish I could have met you –


Florence       (over)

to catch a star mccarty 1996 cover

(next page)
I have read other stuff* of yours – Placitas etc. and like it. I can tune in on it. I’d really like to see more. It’s thought-provoking, really meaty I’d say.

We have 6 small books of poetry written by women poets in Sun City. They are tops – in Who’s Who in several categories. Rarely a day passes that I do not open one of these books. Poetry is indeed the highest art. A few words can often change my day. These gals write sonnets, haikus, cinquains and odes – probably passé to you.

I think you and I are much alike – full of words, and bursting at the seams. I just have to write! For 6 years I ghost wrote boys’ books, for another author. We wrote together from outlines he made. Used same characters. It was a series. He paid by the word (not much). When he died in 1947 my contract still had 3 years to go. His heirs weren’t interested so contract was canceled. He had made a fortune in the English Text Book field, retired and started the series as a hobby project. Most colleges in U.S. used his textbooks in the twenties. I don’t know what happened to books we wrote together. It doesn’t matter. He paid me per contract, and I did enjoy writing. His pen names was Steve Jones.

*Steve Jones and I always called our writing “stuff.” Most writers do.
to catch a star mccarty back cover

Dear Florence.

Yes we could have had, we could have had . . . such enriching conversations at least for me, but the spaces of the West can spread people out, spread families out.

My love and appreciation goes out to the memory of these women and I do take to heart what is expressed in these two personal items.

Here is a review of To Catch a Star.

Larry Goodell / Placitas, New Mexico / December 28, 2015

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Zimbabwe Nkenya Bass Artist – a bit about collaboration

zimbabwe b and w

Photo: David Clemmer

“Zimbabwe Nkenya is a St. Louis native and a highly regarded and creative bass player.  Zimbabwe has appeared on several New Music Circle events recently and is one of our beloved performers. Sadly, he experienced a stroke earlier this past fall [2009] . . .” Note: He recovered to perform since then.

His living and performing in Albuquerque was legendary, luminarily rich. He expanded the true bass in ranges and sonic levels rarely, if ever, heard. It was a blessing in my life in the 90’s to collaborate with him a couple times at the Outpost Performance Space.

Information (not as current as I’d like): New Music Circle – 2010 – Listen

From HYPE, Volume One, Issue One, March 1991, Albuquerque, David Clemmer, Editor. INTERVIEW: Larry Goodell, Zimbabwe N’Kenya

Bassist Zimbabwe N’Kenya and poet Larry Goodell are two mainstays of the arts in north central New Mexico. Zimbabwe is known to radio audiences as the host of KUNM’s Sunday night jazz program, “The House That Jazz Built,” and to audiences around the state as the bassist both for his own group, Jazz Culture, and for the Tom Guralnick Trio. Larry Goodell is a noted performance artist and poet-in-residence at the Living Batch Bookstore. Larry has published a book of his poetry (Firecracker Soup) and has released a tape – The Mad New Mexican – on the Ubik label. HYPE talked to Larry and Zimbabwe shortly after a recent collaborative performance at the Outpost Performance Space.

Living Batch Guralnick Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe. When I look at Larry I see him as an artist– and he has a certain presence, a certain thing that is his. When I first saw him at gigs at the Living Batch he wasn’t like a lot of academic poets, they got this stiff neck and attitude type thing. I’d played with poets before back in St. Louis and New York, and my wife Deborah is a published poet and I get a lot of inspiration through her. When we first met in St. Louis she was part of this poetry workshop that included Shirley LaFleur, who is a well-known poet in the Midwest. There’s a difference between just writing poetry and performing it creatively and Larry is just excellent at that: theatre, motion. Our collaboration was a natural thing.

Larry Goodell. I think collaborations are very tricky. You can want to collaborate and it may never happen because it depends on how collaborate-able you are. You need to plant the seed for it or perhaps it can just happen naturally. I’ve admired Zimbabwe’s bass playing for a long time and it crossed my mind several times that we might work together, and after time you experience each other’s work and if it seems that it might be a new experience, something exciting, that some spark might come out of it, well then, it can happen. During the San Francisco renaissance, the Beat generation, it was very common for jazz to be going on with poetry. Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Denise Levertov, Kenneth Rexroth- a lot of poets read with jazz, so there’ s a history to that kind of collaboration. I’d been thinking about that a lot lately and I wanted to get directly involved– my voice as an instrument. And today, through rap music, the media (and I mean MTV) has discovered that poetry does exist in America. It took rap to make that happen.

HYPE. How do you conceive of yourself as an artist operating in, and influenced by, this environment, having your creativity shaped by this place and these times and the circumstances that you find yourself in?

Goodell. Well, I’m a very dissatisfied person in many, many respects. I’m angry and dissatisfied by many things from the environmental situation to the government to the situation of poets in present day life. The way that I’m trying to deal with this dissatisfaction is to work with other people. I have a real concern about what other poets’ lives are like and helping people with readings and working with musicians and dancers when I can. A lot of my dissatisfaction has to do with the fact that being a poet is a pretty lonely situation: there’s you and your typewriter or you and your notepad. And then, on occasion, if you want to do it, there’s you and your audience, but I feel less isolated and less dissatisfied when I’m working with other people.

Zimbabwe. Yeah, well Larry has a valid point there– poets are pretty much a solo act. When I first came here I was stationed out here with the Air Force and I didn’t really like it. I was living at Kirtland and felt like I had been cheated– they sent me to Albuquerque as punishment (laughter). Yeah, yeah. But then what happened, it was going up in the mountains and such, and it was a gradual thing, so that by the time I left and went back to St. Louis I had this thing about New Mexico, something pulling me back– there’s this environment, this sky. Even in New York, we were getting kind of fed up with it and I told my family that we should go to New Mexico, because it was this thing out here– I can’t put my finger on it– but most of the songs that I’ve written and most of my creativity has happened here.

Living Batch Zimbabwe and Jazz

Living Batch Flyer by Jeff Bryan

Goodell. I was in the Army in Southern California and I went to school at USC in Los Angeles, but other than those six years I’ve spent all of my 55 years in New Mexico. Since I’ve lived so little in other places I really don’t have too much to compare it to, to think what kind of poet I’d be if I was in New York or in Los Angeles. There is a certain sparseness to the landscape here, in spite of the fact that more and more people are moving here, so that you’re more aware of the specific artists– in all of the arts– that you particularly like and feel compatible with or who are doing interesting things. There may not be that many, but it’s as if they stand out on the landscape a little more clearly. When somebody major comes to town you really feel it, you pick up the vibes. But it’s getting less so. Albuquerque has always been verging verging verging on being a city, but without ever really becoming a metropolis.

Zimbabwe. When I came back here in 1988 it was because my daughter had been in the second grade in New York, in Manhattan, and I didn’ t like what was going on. I was starting to notice happening, things on a child’s level, and remembered how things were here and thought it would be better for her, and I remembered the Jazz Workshop and how that used to be back in ’79 and ’80 and I just took it for granted that we could come out here and it’d be okay. And it’s good, there’s this certain vibration here that allows me to create.

HYPE. You’ve got this concert coming up and it happens that this is Black History Month. How about the concept of Black History Month?

Zimbabwe. Well, on my flyer and in the press releases for the gig I made a point not to put “Black History Month”, because this country has a lot of problems, a lot of racial problems, and the things that are said during Black History Month should be said every day of the year. So, on the poster it’s Black History – period! There’s truths that have got to be spoken, and not just during Black History Month. I mean, when I was a kid, my parents were coming out of East St. Louis, which is in Illinois, you know– the Land of Lincoln– and I was writing this paper on Abraham Lincoln. I was doing some research, reading his speeches, and the things he was saying about us, about Black people, it really opened my eyes: he wasn’t the man that history has painted him to be. He hated Black people! You can’t build anything from lies, man, and people wonder why we have these problems- you got to just tell the truth!

Living Batch Wright Zimbabwe

Please leave any current information so I can pass it on. Thank you! For my collaborations with dancers please see The Dance Book. Larry Goodell / Placitas, New Mexico

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John Moritz Broadside for Ken Irby 1976

john moritz broadside to us 1976 no margins

What a lovely poem-broadside to rediscover going through my collection now. Irby was very distressed over John Moritz’ death. Moritz (1946-2007) produced beautiful publications of Ken’s work and was a dear friend. More here from Pierre Joris.

Larry Goodell / Placitas, New Mexico

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A Few Notes Concerning My Friend Stephen Rodefer

larry stephen rodefer pancho elliston in placitas by bob dalessandro

Stephen Rodefer sitting between me and Pancho Elliston (co-owner of the Living Batch Bookstore in Albuquerque). In Placitas at Alice and Lee Johnson’s house. Photo by Bob D’Alessandro. 1970’s.

Stephen Rodefer (1940-2015)

Stephen Rodefer was a poet and dear friend to many here in New Mexico and California and Paris and points beyond. He taught at UNM before moving to Berkeley. A Memorial Reading has occurred at the Geoffrey Young Gallery in Great Barrington MA on October 24th. Upcoming in Berkeley is a memorial tribute November 21st at 6 pm at the Berkeley Arts Festival. And in Paris on December 5th at 5:00 pm at La Guillotine, 24 rue Robespierre.


From an Interview by Bruce Holsapple and John Tritica, concerning Stephen Rodefer:

Holsapple: In 1972 you began Fervent Valley, can you talk about your involvement with that group, you, Bill Pearlman, Charlie Vermont, Stephen Rodefer.

Goodell: Bill Pearlman named it; Fervent Valley referred to Placitas. There were four editors, fighting all the time. But each issue was a little different. Lenore was the art editor. Pat Bolles [of Grasshopper Press] sold me his Davidson offset press for a dollar and we moved it to an off room of the Thunderbird Bar and I printed there. Stephen Rodefer did [a Fervent Valley] primarily on his own. Then he started doing the Pick Pocket series. Steve was teaching at UNM.

fervent valley editors placitas

Photo by Wayne Jones on road by the Thunderbird Bar in Placitas.


Fervent Valley 1-4. Stephen was an editor of #1 and #2 and sole editor of #4 (1972-1974)

fervent valley eds tbird jones

Editors of Fervent Valley #1, 1972: Lenore Goodell, me, Stephen Rodefer, Charlie Vermont and Bill Pearlman, Press was in the Thunderbird Bar (background).

fv1 coverphoto

This photo we used on the back of FV #1.

About this time [1974], Steve and I went on tour. I took my medicine bag—my circus trunk—and we went off in a Datsun station wagon, Steve and Lenore and my 4-year old son, Joel. We had a National Rifle Association credit card. We went all over the country, even Canada, thanks to Steve’s organizing. We read in Chicago. We went to Connecticut where the Olson archives are now. We read at St. Mark’s in New York; we went to Buffalo and Toronto. Each place I’d do a rather elaborate set up of the Ometèotl poems.

Holsapple: There was, I take it, an active poetry scene at the national level, so you could set up readings?

goodell rodefer flyer boston univ 1973 10 10

Steve wrote this crazy blurb for me signed “Wolfman Jack” expanding on something Charlie Vermont said . . .

Goodell: Yeah, again, this is by way of friends. Steve knew a lot of people. He went to graduate school at Buffalo and we visited friends of his there who were involved with Olson.”

Stephen Rodefer’s books are One or Two Love Poems from the White World, The Bell Clerk’s Tears Keep Flowing, Villon (duende press), Four Lectures (which was a winner of the American Poetry Center’s Annual Book Award), Oriflamme Day (with poet Benjamin Friedlander), Emergency Measures, Passing Duration, Erasers, Left Under A Cloud, Call It Thought, and Mon Canard.

pearl rodefer silverberg

Bill Pearlman, Leni Silverbird (behind) and Stephen Rodefer, Albuquerque, I believe.

rodefer berkeley

Stephen in Berkeley and I think the beard was rare . . . (I don’t remember seeing it)

miki rodefer yale st grasshopper broadside

Broadside with Rodefer poem and artwork by Michelle Bourque Sewards, put out by the Yale Street Grasshopper Bookstore (later transmogrifying into the Living Batch) . . . . incredibly beautiful poem and drawing . . .

rodefer villon cover with spine

First of the “PickPocket Series” modeled after City Lights Pocket Series . . . 1976, duende press a la Rodefer.

Rodefer Goodell Central Torta 1979 05 02 Albuquerque

Rousing poetry / music / dance at the Central Torta run by the Bill Rane family . . . Albuquerque

Steve Rodefer & Olivia & tumbleweed 68

At the shoot for Oriental Blue Streak Stephen is carrying Olivia and a genuine New Mexico tumbleweed.

oriental blue streak

Oriental Blue Streak photo shoot by Carl Michener-Rodin. The one-shot magazine came out in 1968 – Stephen in the doorway . . . l to r Gene Frumkin, Betsy and little Amy and Kell Robertson, Mel and Beverly Buffington sitting, Lora Linsley, me, Steve, Olivia, Charlie Potts, Bill Pearlman and Joe Bottone foreground . . .

A message from Katrine Le Gallou suggests that I “might like to share this small report on the ceremony for Stephen. It was written by Felix Brenner, one of Stephen’s sons. Rae Armantrout, Laird Hunt, Jonathan Skinner, Josh Robinson also attended the ceremony. The cause of his death is unknown, he was found in his studio by our son Dewey (18 yrs old). . . .”

From Felix Brenner (son of Summer Brenner and Stephen Rodefer):
“Stephen’s funeral took place today at Père Lachaise with about 40 people – family, friends and poets from Paris and England – joining us to mourn and celebrate.

On this shining and cooler September day, Dewey, Ben, Katrine and I met his casketed body at 10:00 AM at the Medical Institute along the Seine across from the Jardin des Plantes. We had some moments with him, to be together and say some words, before moving with him by car to the cemetery. During this time, Jackie retrieved a word painting by Stephen (Moet et Moi, Ashes to Ashes, Art to Art) and some of his decorative dresses (those he hung on his walls) from his studio and set the scene of our tribute, actually wearing one of those dresses herself as she had plucked it off his wall in the prior days.

The tribute program and readings were as follows:
Show a Little Emotion for the granite – Felix
Welcome in English and French – Felix & Katrine
Cy Gist in French and English – Katrine & Jackie
A Selection of Poems – Dewey
– De poverté, Poem, To A Reader, Electrified World, and an original poem by Dewey that he had never shared with Stephen
– A tribute and reading of a portion of Love Thirty – Benjamin Rodefer


Felix, Benjamin, Dewey . . . in Paris at this time of the Memorial for their father Stephen Rodefer . . . . what a wonderful picture. Love to you all.

With the five of us having lived as this insular family for the last ten days, so focused on the emotion and affairs of Stephen’s death, it was hard to know what to expect. We overran our allotted time (as Stephen was always one to close down a party). Not a group to go quietly, as guests were invited up to the casket, many took the chance to utter verse, share a story, and give thanks. John and Val (friends of his from London) provided Fuck Death (another word painting by Stephen) pins for guests to wear. Even our Père Lachaise attendant asked for one afterwards and was seen wearing it as she walked the grounds and met with other funeral parties. Another friend Ian Hunt brought copies of Left Under a Cloud to give. The warmth, balance and love brought by those that joined made for a beautiful day and a fitting Parisian goodbye.
We retired to a cafe nearby to continue the celebration, eating and drinking. With the crowd shrunk to 15 or so, we meandered back through Pere Lachaise in the afternoon light, on our way to Stephen’s favorite cafe – La Fée Verte above Bastille – for additional food and beverage.”
– Felix Brenner, Wednesday, September 2nd. 2015.

Stephen there’s so much more to say but it’s late . . . . love to you always and love to your extended family . . . from Larry and Lenore and Joel . . .

/A few notes compiled by Larry Goodell, concerning Stephen. Some of this may appear in the upcoming issue of the Malpais Review.

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Ken Irby, a Memento, by Larry Goodell

Kenneth Irby (1936-2015)
a Memento

(a bit of this will appear in the forthcoming Malpais Review, November, 2015,                thanks to Gary Brower, Editor)

sam spencer, ken irby, larry goodell mid 60s sandias albuquerque big cleaned up
Sam Spencer, Ken Irby and Larry Goodell on Las Huertas Canyon Road, New Mexico
ca 1964

“It is impossible to write of what one has written or lived except as this day is, out the window, now, explicit.” This quote is from Ken Irby’s The Roadrunner Poem, written in Albuquerque, his first book, which Duende Press published in Placitas, April of 1964. And in 1965 I was very happy to publish a larger bunch of his poems called Movements/Sequences.

He’d been in the Army but in 1963 he was working at Sandia Laboratories. I went to see Ken at Robert Creeley’s suggestion, after I got back from the Vancouver Poetry Conference. He lived on Gavilan Place off North Fourth Street, and he had built-in bookshelves and record shelves throughout to hold his enormous collection. The house was made up of books everywhere, a record player with a small speaker, a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed, a large desk and comfortable chairs.

I remember when I first knocked on the door and entered this remarkable sanctuary, it was an overwhelming sensual delight, a home for intriguing conversations of current poetic sensibility and everything culturally alive in the core of living literature. And there was a lot of good, extremely spicy food, good dope, good liquor, while we listened constantly to music by Delius, Scriabin, Busoni, Satie, Schütz, Coltrane, Chinese Classical, the Carter Family, on and on. And talking. And at that time there was the concourse of the Creeleys, Bill Pearlman, Kell Robertson and many other poets passing through on Route 66. I wrote once, “Ken Irby, he taught me all I cannot know, and then some . . . with warm impressions that last.”

Our friendship developed through many letters and visits to Berkeley when he was living there, including a confab at his house with Paul Blackburn, Robert Kelly, Clayton Eshleman, Harvey Bialy and my wife, Lenore, in 1969. All the time he was at Tufts, and in Denmark, and then in Lawrence, Kansas, we exchanged letters and poems frequently until tapering off in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Here is a poem of his from the beautiful A Set. This exquisite publication is large format 16″ by 20″ from Tansy Press in Lawrence, 1983. His friend John Moritz helped publish it.

From A Set. by Kenneth Irby, 1983

stars fall, dark dolls to earth, to the old songs dance, folk of the West of the West, brought                             back again
almost quickly digitations of the jugglers’ blindfold to bind up the hour before the dawn,                             before the dark

you do not sleep but subsequently translate that mime into a newer currency
to spend in the street and stand around to watch and sing along to those fast steps

here in the woods, hear in the woods, here in the woods
the cottonwood to the flute and the drum

who in the morning come to sacrifice to health for sake of safety’s speed
talking all the time about the in-laws and the pictures on the walls last week

the expectation to exemplify the dying of the old self to its age
the limitation to just one count of generation, one of revolution, made

Ken Irby reminded me of Charles Olson, such a pervasive mind, an incredible ability to read investigatively and remember and to be open to the creative, and to have a sense of music in his writing. I think of Ken as Olson’s successor. American poetry will probably never see a more thorough poetic mind. He enclosed infinitely the great realm of poets including Robert Duncan, Ed Dorn, Charles Olson, H.D., Mary Butts, Gerrit Lansing, Lyn Hejinian, Robert Kelly, Clayton Eshleman, and of course the Creeleys and many others and his searching musical mind discovered new inter-related realms always.

I am thankful for a lifelong encouragement and even praise from him and his exploratory and continual enrichment of American and World culture. My new book Broken Garden & The Unsaid Sings is dedicated “to the memory of my dear friend Kenneth Irby.” And I include here a poem which I wrote before I learned of his death, but shortly after receiving The Intent On, his 680 page collection of poems from North Atlantic Books.

Ken Irby

Ken Irby, the post-Olson mind
continues to teach and write
in Lawrence, Kansas,
186 miles from the geographical center
of the contiguous United States namely
Lebanon, Kansas.

A man of comprehensive sensibility
to the eons of place and
the histories of now, the voices
and stories
that fill the United States of movement
the languages that toss us back & forth
in the wind
and fill our ears in America,
the discipline of search
that leads to surprises
of our own self

is the teacher for the rest of us
to find and make
new connections.
The construction of our own selves
found in layered histories
often needs a guide —
“the intent on.”

(The Intent On, Collected Poems 1962-2006, by Kenneth Irby, North Atlantic Press)

Ever love and respect, abrazos, Mr. Irby. Larry Goodell /23Oct2015

Addenda: more poems for Ken and a postcard from him.

Arkansas Rose
/for Ken Irby

I picked “the flower of having passed through paradise in a dream.”
I took the risk of things seeming what they seemed.
It was a wild rose with 5 veined petals
probably the Arkansas rosa.
It smells so sweet in the tiny blue Mexican glass it’s in.
Miss Nowell gave me botany, Martha Sue Nowell
although we didnt get as far as angiosperms.
Miss Stole sold me the tiny blue pitcher — last of the Mexican glass I
          /got from her.
Augustine Stole.
Tne pricelessness of names that pass on into things.
The wild Hungarian rose
has cropped up here before
with the Kansas Gayfeather
but this is the Arkansas rose
grows by the Arkansas River
and by the irrigation ditches here
and rocky hillside
by the road.
That “wild Irish rose” the saddest dream did tell
you woke up for the best of all
to awaken
the dream you dreamed you couldnt bring the flower of paradise back from
          /the dream
was wrong
you woke up with it in your hand               snapped from the bush
you smell the rose here
fragrant             as in the dream
the dream you never had            except in waking

larry goodell / placitas / early June 1979

Bosch Irby pc

This postcard face and back with text from Ken Irby expresses the typical joy in his life of constant cultural discovery which of course enters his poetry and was infectiously communicative to friends. Jim here is his brother James Irby, Emeritas Professor, Princeton University.

bosch irby pc text

“Irby, Bramshill Gardens, London i7July74
Larry — Ah my, what an incredible place the Prado truly is! This Bosch perhaps the greatest treasure there for me, but hardly the only one, not by far — Such a collection of 15th Century Flemish masterpieces! & then the Velasquez & the Goyas! Whew, & yet again! Only the Hermitage rivals it, and we hardly saw it except on the run — Oslo, Stockholm (one of the great cities of the world — where we finally saw that marvelous traveling Chinese show from Peking, with the jade burial suit, etc) Turin, Helsinki, Leningrad, back to Copenhagen, Paris, Barcelona (wondrous architecture, not just Gaudi but his compatriots & contemporaries) a couple of days in the countryside about 120 km West of Valencia at the summer house of an old Spanish colleague of Jim’s at Princeton — now Madrid — next Lisbon & N., Santiago de Compostela etc. before Paris again — Such food!! My lord a mercy! You’d flip at the seafood tapas available with drinks in the bars. Spain is much reminiscent of New Mexico terrain, but more tropical (palm trees) but definitely a kindred landscape — you must come here one day — Write me a note at least at the above address where I’ll be by 1 Aug. Hang loose & love  Ken”

Soar Heart (from Renew Anew, my poems from 1992-93)

for Ken Irby

I am going to get at it if it kills me.
I am going to intend it to death,
Direct the course not like but be that laser beam.
The very foundation stone, the directed focus.
The question that dissolves on looking at it, Yes
the Yes at the end of the tunnel, the yes that falls apart.
The very anal, naval, third-eye, orifice & cup that
          runneth over.
I see you, it, that and it is beyond me,
tiny, to the point an infinitesimal degree but
Nothing stops me, to blunder upon it or intuit
Rewinding the tape to see it again: you only see it once
And once it’s gone it will always be with you.
Books to the ceiling and beyond to the universe read with distinction.
Now remembered nothing, but on the streets my heart beats.

larry goodell / 20Apr93#3

(for K.I.)

The land
presumptuous of elements

because it is so
how should I say

lapped upon
quietly under

while Irby                 can stand upon
here where the drums’           affectation

fuse in the heart

larry goodell / 64Feb27#1 / written while working on Ken’s first books.

Ken Irby and Gino Sky and Ann Quin have been my triumvirate poet/writers in my life. My dearest friends. And Lenore, my very dearest. Love to all in memory of Ken.

larry goodell / placitas, new mexico / 3Nov2015

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Is Goodbye Ever A Hello?

for Lottie – and Tiger and Woody
Can a person say something other than loss?
Is loss ever a gain?
Is goodbye ever a hello?
Is death ever a life you wished it to be?
Is empty ever any more than empty?
Don’t call it full when it’s not.
It’s absence. Total lack of person, of life that was.
Was there ever any life there, you ask when
there’s nothing there.
Is a dog a person?
Is a dog dead?
Is a person dead.
Is there ever any afterlife of either?
Except in memories, memories
that take over and demand the life that gave them birth.
A vanishing, a “not there” that joggles the mind.
What am I thinking about when I can’t see
anything there, anyone there, any living being

007 smaller

Woody & Tiger


Lottie & Woody with Lenore

/larry goodell / placitas, new mexico / 14jul2015

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Poetry In The Works

buffalo and others

I celebrate, years after, the great joy of poetry and poetry books created by my students at the University of New Mexico. I was asked to teach poetry workshops about 3 times from 1993 to 1997 and I would have done it every semester of my professional life if I could (stumbling block: lots of graduate work but no Masters).

Here is the description of the course given to students. The requirement was get active through tools of the class in writing your own poems, put together a book of your own work, design it, come up with your own press name and do a minimum of 2 copies, one for me. I set up a public reading near the end of the course in the Student Union Building which was a great event for us, and all the students’ books went on view subsequent to the course in display windows at the SUB. I insisted students experience every phase of the “Poet As Publisher” which has been the essence of my life and many of my poet friends.

Visitors to the class were poets Lance Henson, Maisha Baton, David Seder, Scott Nicolai, Merilene Murphy and others including Keith and Heloise Wilson. Tim Forrest recorded and aired student poems on KUNM-FM.
DSC_0554Poetry Writing Workshop

Larry Goodell, Instructor

This is a hands-on, how-to workshop, with a variety of approaches towards writing poetry and an exploration of some of the predominant styles. We’ll try various exercises and experiments to invigorate writing. We learn the best ways to read our own work aloud. We explore personal expression, humor, seriousness, satire, word-play, and learn what makes a good poem work. The course helps people open up and write what they’ve always wanted to write. We’re all here to encourage. The stress is on variety and enjoyment. We learn how to assemble poems into a small book, how to and where to publish, including tips on how to self-publish.


8 Week Outline

Let’s try to present at least one new poem or piece of writing each week. You can try to put together a small collection of your work in typescript and bound in booklet form.


1. Journal keeping. “The collage of imaginative discovery.” Common place book, diary, notebook, dreams, fragments.
2. Short poems. “The small is more than the sum of its parts.” Basho, haiku, American haiku, imagism, found poems.
3. Exercising writing. “Doors to the Eternal Muse.” Teasers, props, tricks, timed writing, automatic writing.
4. Finding your style. Where and why do you end a line? Rhymed versus non-rhymed, contemporary American poetry techniques and styles.

stove poetry

5. Finding your local focus. What is Southwestern poetry? Regional poetry? Local focus as source for poetry, specificity and risk, “imagination determined reality.”
6. Finding sources for poems. Memories, events, conversations, dialogues, news, interviews, dreams, journals.
7. Writing story poems. Family history, history is story, your politics as source, investigation and exaggeration, satire.
8. Finding the world in your poetry. Poetry as a gift you can give. Sources of publication, including self-publication extending poetry into community, readings, broadsides, booklets.

Book recommended: New Mexico Poetry Renaissance, Niederman and Sagan, editors. Red Crane $9.95.


Miles Lessen, Living Dream Publishing Company, 1997


This is by poet/actor/theater-founder Joe Peracchio, Escapist Press 1993


String by Gabrielle Lilly, amazing production and poems . . . Open Air Press 1993

one shot

One of the anthologies of work assembled thanks to Robert Masterson in conjunction with our public reading, University of New Mexico.

This was a comprehensive shot in the arm of poetry to enable everyone to express and experience a bit of what poetry can offer.

Larry Goodell / Placitas, New Mexico

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Larry’s Website Up and Running

This website which is kind of a “me” factory needed to be converted to html-5 and thanks to the template help at WIX I finally did it. It can only get better and more generous to others. Especially now that Duende Press is breaking through the surface again (after years) . . . please check it out and comment if you’d like . . .meanwhile I’ll continue to poke it along in my slow change way . . . thanks, larryhill from book of ometeotl better

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