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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Thunderbird Bar Intimate History

Many thanks to dear friends who talked about the rise, fluorescence and fall of the Thunderbird Bar in Placitas, New Mexico . . . Love to all of you and appreciation for the great music and intense life drama and camaraderie of those years and that spectacular place with its beautiful setting . . . music and love will always endure . . .

thunderbird inside group brighter pa

from contact sheet of 35 mm film perhaps by Mike Katona



For an album of about 70 photographs, music flyers, memorabilia please see Thunderbird Bar, Placitas, NM – much love and appreciation to all who contributed.




Further links! Fantasy Mountain Fair of 1972
Movies In Placitas thank you Susan and John Morgan
Zocalo Theater in Town of Bernalillo
Kell Robertson (who worked, sang & lived at the bar for a time)

Interview in 1995 featuring Steve Katona, Berry Hickman, Peaches Malmud. Recorded on the small Sony Professional cassette recorder by Larry Goodell in Placitas.

1st Part of Interview 
1 Thunderbird Bar of Placitas, New Mexico, late 60’s early 70’s
Thunderbird Bar Intimate History Late 60s Early 70s PART 1 – 50 minutes

2nd Part of Interview with some of the people who ran the Thunderbird Bar in Placitas during its musical and social heyday.
2 Thunderbird When Was This 1971 Steve, Berry, Peaches (1995
Thunderbird Bar Intimate History Late 60s Early 70s PART 2 – 41 minutes

3rd Part of the Interview with the people whe were the main forces behind the phenomenon of the Thunderbird Bar in Placitas, New Mexico
3 Thunderbird The Bar Opened July 4th 1971 Susan Junge, Steve, Berry, Peaches, P. A. Blalock, Bill Pearlman
Thunderbird Bar Intimate History Late 60s Early 70s PART 3 – 33 minutes

love to all, and thank you . . .
Larry Goodell

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Duende Press Resurfaces with Barter Within the Bark of Trees by Latif Harris

barter front coverApril 30, 2015                                              ( a Note from Erin Messer)

Poet Latif Harris’ new collection, Barter Within the Bark of Trees, is just published by Duende Press, Placitas, New Mexico.  It was exactly 50 years ago that Duende published Harris’ first book, Selected Poems 1965 (duende 12).

Barter Within the Bark of Trees examines aging and the tricks memory plays on the instrument of the mind. It is the culmination of both a richly blessed life as well as one of terrible losses and tragedies. The poems sequentially lead to a final, new piece written over the span of just a few months. According to Harris, by far the most profound, essential influence on this work has been his nearly four-decade practice of Vajrayana Buddhism.

Harris grew up in Los Angeles but relocated to San Francisco in 1958 where he joined the Beat scene in North Beach. After studying with Robert Creeley in New Mexico and traveling extensively abroad, Harris returned to Northern California where he collaborated with jazz poet Howard Hart and founded the Bannam Place Reading Series in North Beach in 1983. During the past 20 years he has continued to perform his work at many literary events in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Most recently, he co-edited and published Beatitude Golden Anniversary 1959 – 2009, a comprehensive volume spanning 50 years of Beat literature and poets of the San Francisco Renaissance, as well as those who were influenced by these movements internationally.


Jack Hirschman speaking with Latif Harris

In his forward to the new collection, Jack Hirschman, San Francisco Poet Laureate Emeritus, says: “The poetry of Latif Harris contains his lifelong serious involvement with Buddhism and death as the heart of the art of the transient journey to the beginning, where the end has already been outlived. This makes for a very mortal work, both confessional and consoling. And in measures that are various, but always with a strong feel for structure and, in that sense, faithful to the classics, no matter the surface ease of his ‘californial texturing’. There is hardly a single poem in his work that is not a praise-song received from his wisdom-school studies on the path.”

Boddhisatva harris

For the reissue of Harris’ previous book, A Bodhisattva’s Busted Truth (now in its second printing), Beat poet David Meltzer wrote: “The poems herein express an amazing range of spiritual searching, a journey articulated with deep precision and heart. Harris joins a lineage of American poet seekers like Whitman, Thomas Merton, and Gary Snyder.”

Latif Harris is available for interview by phone or in person upon request.

Erin Messer, Editor/Archivist    /                                    DUENDE_LOGO BST LENORE                   There are review copies.                                                                             larry goodell / placitas, new mexico / /

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Inzorbital, by Bill Pearlman, reviewed by John Brandi

Inzorbital cover redone better this

Bill Pearlman, Inzorbital, a novel of high research, the penultimate novel of the 60’s in New Mexico by the then Captain of its universe. 114 pages.

Review of Inzorbital by John Brandi

INZORBITAL with its forever ladder climbing surfboard overdose word & waterrace jetstream verbal rhythmic high makes a terrifying often pleasurablepainkiller ride thru the marl of desert New Mexico crossing america & aslant in the fog of Europe, a language so weird & intense at times that one feels blown thru a jazz sax or high on an acid rage of sex, touching down beyond the football goal with two balls in hand & the head whitely spotlighted, band playing, all the cheerleaders undressed & suddenly so many years orbits joints & songs have been passed that it is no longer possible to ride beginning to end, but to merely run for cover before, as Marilyn Kennedy puts it on the back cover, the “shooting starts”–

I’ve thought twice of Kerouac, a little of Walt & many times over of Jack [Hirschman] & the surrealists since fastly making the pulp, laying it all out before me then letting it eat me up, enclose upon me with all its music & dust & long needles of late Sixty remembrances & the empty orange iceboxes of youth staring me time after time with words & food, mud in the face & baffled girls from Bel Aire swimming pools, nightwashed bums & the dogs of Memphis, you get them all together here, backwards, forwards, empty wards, wild tracks, like Sgt Pepper, backdated, updated, spinning crazily off the track & with a million mouths . . . thanxs Bill, & Duende, for bringing INZORBITAL alive

– John Brandi lives in El Rito, New Mexico, travels a lot, teaches, writes, paints and is a major asset to the poetry and painting life of our state. See John Brandi.

But INZORBITAL blasts off all dimensions in form, laid at first in the New Mexico landscape, it has acid rhetoric peculiar to one Bill Pearlman who came here in the height of the 60’s & wrote about it. There are also choice sections of jock lib stuff, good Oregon passages in the part with the runner Prefontaine sometimes the star.

Anyway INZORBITAL does say some things about the late 60’s in America that have not been said and will probably never be said again. True there are some denser passages in this work, but the vitality is in its fantastic energy, when Pearlman gets going watch out. His his first prose book, it’s a novel of sorts, heretofore undiscovered.

Note, written October 31st, 2014. I don’t believe John Brandi’s review piece has been published and my apologies for not making that happen before, so here it is and it brings back the rush of that book. I printed it on a Davidson Press in Frank Lindsay’s printing shop in the North Valley of Albuquerque. And we had a great collating party to start the year of 1975 right there in the shop. It was a great way to start the new year.

Signed copies with original poem in each $150. Signed copies $35. Regular edition copies are $15. duende press, po box 571, placitas, new mexico 87043 Include $5 shipping. Paypal account: larry goodell

Larry Goodell / duende press / placitas, new mexico 2014

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Bruce Andrews, 5″ by 7″ Index Card Postcard, 1974

fv 3 cover

Cover of Fervent Valley #3, Spring of 1973, drawing by Peter Karassik

fv 3 table of contents

When I was sending out duende magazines and fervent valley magazines, ’60s & 70’s there were wonderful exchanges through the mail: often other poets’ magazines, notes, artwork, queries offering surprises at the US Post Office we hardly get any more, at least in my digital dominated world . . .













Here’s a very nice large index card from poet Bruce Andrews he used as a postcard.

Thank you Bruce, after many years, you seem to wrap up your poetics here . . .

bruce andrews card message 1974

“My own interests I guess run more toward stylistic adventuresomeness & the use of language to show its own reality & importance, stressing its non-representational value & interest, its physicality, its ability to create & be its own context & content, & a stress on elements of texture, densities, silence, directionality, balance, rhythm, etc. by organizing language according to those non-representational elements (& not just using them as ornaments to more prettily get the [outside] message across.) Language, our perception of it & its self-reality & possibilities, is the message, for me. Taking this feeling from wherever I can find it: Stein, Zukofsky, Eigner, Coolidge, Palmer, Grenier, Silliman, contemporary art, etc : maybe we could talk about this sometime, since it largely shapes my perceptions & thoughts about what you are doing w/ the magazine. It’s a question of aims, largely.” Bruce Andrews

bruce andrews card frontI at the time was graphically involved in performance of a ceremonial set of poetry, serial poems for presentation before an audience, and I was absorbed in the making of all the items the poems called forth, so, really, I couldn’t have felt more disattached from Bruce’s poetics, as much as I might have been presented them from various publications of the “language” school. The poems I was writing simply forced their necessity on me. The drums of my New Mexico blood just kept beating the poems out. Larry Goodell

/Postcard is from my duende press archives here in placitas, new mexico

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Links to Blog Posts about the Living Batch Bookstore . . .

Living Batch 25th anniversary

1. Living Batch Pieces of History

2. More Pieces of Batch History

3. Geary Hobson reminices about working at the Batch.

4. Patricia Nelson one of the managers expands the history.

5.  Early history: Phil Mayne  who started the Yale Stree Grasshopper which became the Batch adds some comments.

4. A postcard from a lover of bookstores . . .

5. Poetry and Vital Words at the Batch

6. Living Batch Events flyers and posters from Nicole Blaisdell and my flyer collection . . .

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stars chairs cardinals a Poem & Drawing by Kenneth Irby


Kenneth Irby

stars     chairs     cardinals
the music sung in a corner
at morning     Sunday
rises in the sun’s heat
and goes out to May

all cherish and instruct
each other     we kick
gravel at each other in the driveway
grass blows windward and back

laughing on a hilltop at the top
of afternoon     laughing in a graveyard
’s marble whose chairs we carry
in us and sit watching the stars

in the yard now the cardinals
rise up lark-like from the wire
to the music sung rising from the house
toward late morning     in a Sunday
sun’s May has lifted into heat

– 22May66 Lawrence, Kansas

this appeared as a belated duende broadside in 2006 harkening the powers of the past

duende press box 571 placitas, nm 87043

Kenneth Irby (born 18 November 1936) won a 2010 Shelley Memorial Award. He is sometimes associated with the Black Mountain poets, especially with Robert DuncanRobert Creeley, and Ed Dorn.

He graduated from the University of Kansas, from Harvard University with an A.M., and from the University of California, Berkeley with a M.L.S. degree. He was a visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen on a Fulbright grant. Irby currently is an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas.

A colloquium held at the University of Kansas on November 5, 2011 honored Irby’s work, on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

What a joy to publish Ken’s The Roadrunner Poem and later poems too in duende press. duende 4, Kenneth Irby (b. 1936). The Roadrunner Poem. Biographical Sketch by the poet. With a poem for Irby by LG. April 1964. Mimeo 22pp printed both sides.

duende 8, Kenneth Irby (b. 1936). Movements/Sequences (with a note on Irby’s poetry by Robert Creeley). Preface by the author. Cover ink drawing by Joseph Stuart. September 1965. Mimeo 38 pp printed both sides.

Larry Goodell / Placitas, New Mexico

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Gus Blaisdell interviews artist Constance DeJong “That’s beautiful. It leaves the viewer with the infinite.”

blaisdell Ivey collected

Blaisdell, Gus, Constance DeJong: Metal, University of New Mexico Press, 2003

I saw Constance DeJong’s first show of metal paintings and drawings in 1980. I was
immediately impressed, found the subsequent work equally distinguished, and was an
ardent fan until DeJong went underground in 1997. Then she surfaced again this year
with work so remarkably different that l was again struck. What had happened in the
years she had not shown? She had transformed her work, even though presently she is
again working in metal, and not just in terms of materials. There was a new, deepened
center of attention and concentration. What follows is a conversation between the two of
us that concentrates on her work out of the public eye from 1997 to the present. We talk
a bit about zazen, what DeJong calls sitting practice. This is a practice like yoga that
frees the mind for…

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Keith Wilson, An Appreciation of the Poet, the Friend


Shaman of the Desert

Keith Wilson’s Shaman of the Desert, Collected Poems (1965-2001) is a massive volume of over 1100 pages containing works from at least a couple dozen of his books.

Drum Hadley, long-time friend of Keith Wilson’s, says in his introduction to this Collected, “it seems like we have always known each other. I went to the University of Arizona and I met him right off. I said I was interested in writing poetry and people told me, ‘see Keith Wilson.’ It was the beginning of what has become a lifelong friendship and creative exchange.” And in Las Cruces where the Wilsons moved to, they continued to be “a gathering place, creating a community made of words, ideas, and dreams—where many a young poet was nourished by their good food and company.” And the books of poetry kept coming, subject to the ups and downs of small press publishing, so this Collected from Clark City Press can be your Keith Wilson bible. As Hadley says in his Introduction, “Wilson’s poetry is raw and honest. What is inessential has been pared away, only intensifying it’s impact. Keith describes his writings as ‘Emotional Geography.’ He guides the reader through transformational terrain, reacquainting them with a deeper place within the self.”

I can’t begin to be in any way comprehensive about this incredibly moving and extensive
achievement, but I can bring together here two reviews I did of two of his books, Lion’s Gate, 1986 and Graves Registry, 1992. Also here are a couple short statements about the importance of Keith’s work to me. We were born about a hundred miles apart and he was only eight years older than me but he was always my New Mexican elder. Finally, I include the poem I wrote after his death: “Keith.” And I include a poem of his I picked almost at random, “The Voices of My Desert,” but it nevertheless expresses that honest grit representative of the poet’s best work.

Keith Wilson Shaman paperback

. . .

I’ve had these lines of Keith Wilson’s on my study wall, now almost unreadable from paper disintegration, the last three lines central in many ways:
. . .
“& all the time,
Nuestro Señor,

there was this song
all about me
it had only to open
my mouth to sing.”

Keith Wilson

And from last line of “New Mexico: Paso Por Aqui” I quote, “All men are visitors here.”

. . .

This youthful review of Lion’s Gate, Selected Poems 1963-1986 by Keith Wilson, Cinco Puntos Press, El Paso, first appeared in Southwestern Discoveries, June-August 1988, in my column Backfire.

lions gate back cover

Keith Wilson, New Mexico’s Leading Poet: 1988.

Lion’s Gate roars in the face of the Yuppie invasion of New Mexico as the Peugeots and Saabs pull up to the Placitas Post Office and people lock their cars there for the first time in history. The wind hits the coiffures and business suits and that, simply, in Spring, is New Mexico reclaiming its history. The wind hits hard: death, the odd, the tough, the ghosts, the desert is hard.

These are “stories.” Call them “poems” if you like. Stories make up the history of this man’s art which is poetry. You can theorize poetry to death, break it up into compartments and whisk it away. Or make an icon of it and install it in the University to assure you and your buddies of a job. You can be a non-language poet, a langoiterage poet, a New American Regionalist poet: all these things are a crock, because anything with strength and individuality transcends borders, definitions, crocks.

Lion’s Gate is real, real-ler than a dozen All the Pretty Horses in substance and song and authenticity. Would that Keith Wilson could be touted and read as much, but not adored beyond reason and eaten up in the American Video Machine.

A poem is an utterance of a new-old: the language older, the voice of the poet the newer. And to read Lion’s Gate from cover to cover is hearing a man revealed. There’s the mother, the father, the relatives. “The Arrival of My Mother” is the archetypal Western Expansion poem to me. And there is in Wilson the place in a way that stomps through Western reruns and strangles everything to get to the source: that is, the immaterial, the second rate, the bullshit falls off like dross: the Western in original dressing is revealed.

There’s an encounter with deja vu, more than that, reincarnation actuallized as we travel instantly back in “The Minaret At Constanta” to a lion’s gate in Rumania– the Western Expansion retraced through the intense darkness and voice of the Poet Deluxe.

There is the reinvigorated power of the revealed poet. Layers come off and I don’t mean clothes, the history sings through verse, through the energy that mouths sing and have sung, told, laid down and storyized, where all is never all told: gaps create the poem’s imagination, the reader/listener is vitalized in reenacting the real poet, as Keith Wilson is.

Among the many works as “Midwatch,” “Seacaptain,” and “Chantey,” there are perhaps the best Korean War poems that have come to light: the section from Graves Registry. They make you think of Wilfred Owen’s First World War poems of atrocities, and Viet Nam revealed by Larry Rottman in Winning Hearts and Minds, and the many that have followed him. But the sea and war travel return to “know that my desert is a condition of soul / not topography. It is where one wrestles with devils / and knows they are oneself.” – from “Chantey.”

In 1988 I wrote this in “Teachers,” a series of short poems:

Keith Wilson–
he was the old voice
the bear voice in newest everyday now,
he taught me to bear with it and it
will tell the story.

. . .

graves registry cover

This review of Graves Registry by Keith Wilson. Clark City Press, 1992, appeared in Blue Mesa Review, Spring 1993.

This collection, a Keith Wilson magnum opus, brings together what Grove Press did in 1969 (Graves Registry and Other Poems) and what Sumac Press did in 1972 (Midwatch), and adds about 50 pieces to make up a handsome 216 page edition from Clark City Press in Montana. Things have been clarified: poems that were just numbered before are now entitled, there are certain additions and restorations, but the major parts have remained as Keith Wilson wrote them, in high heat. You have the obvious proportions of an epic on war, a book poem that allows the poet to play out the human species’ obsession with war. You could say it’s Keith Wilson’s obsession, but when you reach the end and pass through “the battlefields of galaxies” you realize the truth of his hammering and the shield of this book becomes timeless, Homeric, and present. Look at what’s happening, now, 1993: war is part of us.

Graves Registry is a poem. (The cover of this beautiful publication erringly refers to the work as “poems.”) The most graphic parts come at the very beginning in “Korea-Japan, 1950-53,” and echo the much earlier poet Wilfred Owen in their depictions of death. Subsequent sections are like shock waves recalling those things experienced in action. The Young Lieutenant seems to be the poet’s persona, antipathetic to the Sea Captain, who figures strongly as the poem progresses.

I think of Dante’s Inferno, but more of the conversations through space of Milton’s Paradise Lost. I think of Owen, and especially Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem: I can hear it backing Owen’s genius depiction of death & that lie “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” These are evoked in me, reading Graves Registry. But mostly, I think of the great Charles Olson’s Maximus Poems. For instance here is the beginning of Olson’s “Maximus, to Himself,”

I have had to learn the simplest things
last. Which made for difficulties.
Even at sea I was slow, to get the hand out, or to cross
a wet deck.
The sea was not, finally, my trade.
But even my trade, at it, I stood estranged
from that which was most familiar.

Here is a piece from “A Masque for the Warriors, Home,” the last part of Wilson’s Graves Registry.


All the voices spin down, lost
beyond whatever recall the memories
of lives lived and died, held briefly
to glints of moonlight, crowns that crumble.

There is left the counting of graves.
The slash of swordblade an epitaph
shudder of cannon in circling echoes

the bones rot within the ring,
boys’ faces kiss shadow girls
rings rings around Saturn or Mars

Graves Registry is a grandiose work, unnerving, troubling, obsessive, powerful, relentless, visionary, comprehensive, bold and musical. It is an immense and tragic poem that both includes and transcends boundaries of space and time. It ultimately succeeds, and what a pleasure that New Mexico’s greatest poet has not only received the Governor’s Award for excellence in the arts, but now has this important work at last available from Clark City Press in Montana. What I and many others regret is that our own University of New Mexico Press stubbornly refuses to publish the rich store of New Mexico poets. What a miss! Keith Wilson is from Fort Sumner and is a resident of Las Cruces where he has taught and worked for years. His works should be fully available and in print, since this poet is a living treasure of our state and our country.

Larry Goodell

Note: We now do have this in Shaman of the Desert (The Collected Poems 1965-2001), Clark City Press 2009.

I wrote this in my notebook in 2000: No poet writes with such gristle & grace as Keith Wilson who in Bosque Redondo excites again the pleasure of what it’s like to be a true New Mexican, a voice of this hard land that sings from the depths as well as the shallows. No poet so truthfully evokes the real world that includes the ancients in the gritty day-to-day living in our own home state. And in 2009, after his death I wrote this:


Who more than you opens doors to where we live?
and we live here whether Las Cruces, Albuquerque
Santa Fe Taos Roswell Fort Sumner,
and where in this so-called Southwest,
who more than you breathes the past with the present?
Who tells the story more than you and
punctuates it with a laugh
or brings the mystery out in the open
to be pondered and wondered at?
where the multifaceted multi-ethnic trans-animal
trans-person melt into the specifics
of the story of each act
which is the reality of living here you get at
and release to us to see what is right before our eyes.
Your voice excites the present with place, places
faces animal and plant and dry presence,
story after story that comes up out of the arroyos
and brings the past with it, the ancients
the voices breaking out of caves
or from their graves
to face us in your family land, your love
of this earth here you articulate father mother
son daughters wife friends strangers
to introduce us, amused, carried on in words
your voice brings me face to face
with where I live

Opening Shaman of the Desert you’ll find many poems such as this one from While Dancing Feet Shatter the Earth.

The Voices of My Desert

Beginning this new trail, with the resonance
of shifting earth about me, I hear calls
distancing the crow voices of my childhood,

the wolf cry of my middle age. The sun
is an ancient symbol above me and God knows
what the mountains, spirit blue on the horizon

mean. Silence stands within me as without
desert stirs to its own subtle communication.
There is time, always, to wonder, doubt.

New Mexico is a myth, an ancient whirlpool
of time where moments stand still just before
being sucked down to other planes, other hours.

We hold time back through rituals, dances
that stir the seconds like flecks of sand
beneath our feet, eternities of the possible.

I write down the words I hear, but I know
it is the Dead who speak them. Our ears
are tuned to the past, hear, hear the days

less clearly than the flute-songed nights
with their last owls whitefaced as moons
swooping low for the poisoned, dying mice.

The ghosts of wolves ring our hills.
Those birdcries, Comanche songs drifting
up from wartrails: the click of steel

in the night, prospectors or old soldiers
sharpening the edge of darkness to a keen
wind that blows all the stories away.

Keith Wilson

He says “I write down the words I hear, but I know / it is the Dead who speak them.” As the voices of the past inform the voices of the present, Mr. Wilson’s voice is prominent among them.

Shaman of the Desert is available in hardback, $40, and in paper, $30. Query Heloise Wilson or email me.

Larry Goodell / Placitas, New Mexico

Note: This appreciation of Keith Wilson will be part of the next Malpais Review, the Southwest’s premiere poetry magazine edited and published by Gary Brower.

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Charlie Vermont, Here’s The Story

vermont 2 women  harry gross 1971

Anne and little Sam Vermont, cover of Charlie Vermont’s Two Women, 1971

Dear Larry,

Thanks for remembering us by sending poems. Though I write letters to my old friends I seldom pen a poem.

We run a very busy family practice in county with 9-10,000 people and 3 docs and we all see patients from other counties as well. It’s not the land of enchantment but there is a little magic in the people. Clinton and now Huckabee whatever you think of them are from just down the road and Perot just down the road a little further. Arkansas has its poetry pockets but I’m not part of them……..and it seems that “the slam” crowd had taken over various venues, and the appreciation of the past is in steep neglect…….ie “iambic pentameter, sonnet”…..da

Pretty busy but may try to become involved in the Arkansas Literary Festival. With the Clinton library in Little Rock where we have a get away place…….culture is beginning to descend. More conservative than New Mexico…but culture spreads reasonably fast in America………and there’s an innocence about it like Albuquerque and Santa Fe in the 60’s
and 70’s. Not too long ago saw the movie The Brave Cowboy……Kirk Douglas……Abbey’s book. Albuquerque and the Sandia mountain pre-development. It’s worth seeing just for the landscape. I saw that movie in college and always wanted to go out West to some place like that and of course I did.

Here’s how it happened. Vietnam War, impending draft. Senior thesis with Alfred Dupont Chandler on Labor Unions during WW II. Despair at what was happening in the country and personally. Had no plans. While working on a paper on Lolita where the mutipule layers of irony and entendre never end……..coupled with a magic carpetride substance………found quite by accident Elie Wiesel’s concentration camp memoir “Night” and also quite by accident within a short period of time For Love by R. Creeley……..which spoke to me. Then also by accident looking for an escape …….graduate school I picked up the catalogue for the U. of New Mexico…….which was modest and slim in those days and the physical description of the Sandias rising to 10,000 feet just to east…….grabbed my attention…….then I saw Creeley was on the faculty……..

The rest of course you were there for, but when I rented the house in Placitas I didn’t know that Creeley lived across the street. At the time, the place was rented by Judy Grahn and her lover Carla Tonella. Also at the time I had no idea what homosexuality was either……..see, an innocent time………….Then there was Anne and I never had a real poetic or creative thought without her…….but it took a life to know that for sure…….When I met Bob and Bobbie Creeley as well as yourself……[Keith] Wilson, [Gus] Blaidell, ]Kell] Robertson, [Steve] Rodefer [Steve] Katona, [Bill] Pearlman ……….it was a whole world that offered solution as [James] Joyce posed the problem “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” We see now that history is still a nightmare for many and America, parts of it, still remains as Lincoln said “mankind’s last best hope.” Creeley and [Ed] Dorn had vision that man could love and live ontologically free and we were able to for awhile in Placitas. Certainly there were excesses……..remember Ulysses S. Grant……..(Don Wasky)….riding around on a white horse giving out Peyote buttons and then later killing people…….probably Shorty [Gibbs]  …….or the man, who I hope had a reasonable life who after taking acid put a hunting knife into the frontal lobe of his brain……..Then there were all the creative moments.

The Thunderbird Bar really was where the cowboys and hippies met and that turned ultimately into the Austin music scene…… some route……..Creeley and Dorn were formed in part in Placitas …… the rest of us. I will always think of it as a place of vision.

The subdivisions now wouldn’t get in my way……..and in the back of my brain……….I think someone introduced me to Bill Gates and Paul Allen (the microsoft people) but it’s a dim memory. There’s an Eric Clapton song………great guitar riffs…..Steve Winwood also……… the phrase was at the time “I have finally found a way to live in the presence of the Lord” If you had the recording you would know in what sense I mean it as the coming together we were part of in Placitas…….and the spiritual (non-specific) knowledge we took with us.

There’s a nice poem in my Selected Poems about Bob and Bobbie, their living in Placitas (little places) or Bolinas (whales). It was in Big Sky and the book tucked away deep my closet……so my other identity remains in the closet….however with internet………San Francisco poem………Graffitti Poem…..”All is known, Flee.”

Hope you and Lenore and Joel are doing ok, and if I take good care of someone next week, in part it’s because my life in Placitas, grounded me in the universal truths of poetry……..and perhaps without trying to sound like a grandiose asswhole…….the way the world is sun and moon and stars…….As for Colonel Katona……..wouldn’t be as successful as I am today if he had taken me on his vision quest.

The poem “Real Adobe” does capture the fact that we like the Transcendentalists of the 1840’s run in the American vein……….Hawthorne ends his novel The Blithedale Romance…..about a commune saying when mankind is more evolved he’d like to try it again. My generation en masse was the 1st to seek a way to live without war………….though it wasn’t always conscious……..we all did dive under school desks in air raids from a potential nuclear attack. (Cuban Missile Crisis) hence the prayer for Robert Oppeheimer……….who realized what he had done for mankind. If I had been up against Hitler I would have done the same thing.

Your old General friend [Kenner Hertford] also had a conscience……..a military man with warm greetings for poets and hippies. He knew what the alternative might be far more than we.

yours for the duration

Charlie (end of email)

This email letter is from Charlie Vermont, 2008, when the duende poetry series was putting together a program about poets who’ve lived in Placitas, New Mexico . . . thanks Charlie, for this. I can’t find my Charlie’s Laughing which I think was Pat Bolles’ Grasshopper Press, darn! I’ll look again tomorrow. Two Women is from Angel Hair Books.

A bit about Charlie before he came to New Mexico: “Before I was 20 I was involved in anti-war politics. If fact, it was me who was chosen by the national SDS in 1964 to request the policepermit for the first large demonstration against the war in Vietnam. I was at that demonstration and spent a little time in a court room for my activities there. That was 3 or 4 years before I met you. I was also a history major and knew people like Steve Ambrose and Alfred Dupont Chandler who taught history at Johns Hopkins. So when you asked for my artistic statement about Placitas I did mention Wiesel’s concentration camp memoir. I still am a student of history perhaps more so than a student of poetry.”

Many thanks to Charlie Vermont for his telling us about his years here in Placitas.

Vermont slected poems alice notley 1980

Selected Poems cover is by Alice Notley, United Artists Book 1980

oriental blue streak at door rodin b & w

Charlie Vermont 2nd from right . . . from left it’s Joe & Olivia Bottone, Steve Rodefer, Bill Pearlman, Beverly & Mel Buffington, Lora Linsley at door, Gene Frumkin, Amy the baby with Kell and Betsy Robertson, then Charlie and me. Photo by Karl Michener Rodin for the duende press publication Oriental Blue Streak 1968 (but we used the Oriental Blue Streak gas station photo).

Here are three of the poems Charlie talks about:

real adobe

unconscious of
the shadows thereof
in the pool
at sport
in sun
the mountains
ascend northwest
over a hundred miles
to the Los Alamos vista
looking back

Oppenheimer quoting the
Bagavagita “I have become death, destroyer of worlds”

the hippies cavort
in athletic innoncence
naked in the sun

wanting to live in fun
on earth in real adobe

not knowing they pray
for Oppenheimer who met
his vision coming the other way
trying to defeat a madman.

charlie vermont June 1, 2005

Charlie adds, “The madman by the way . . . was Hitler. I once had nice poem you published about the General who was head of Atomic Energy Commission who’s house you lived in. He was very proud of the house, he built it with his own hands……..he and ‘an old Mexican.'”

The Inzorbital Pearl of Placitas 
for Bill [Pearlman]

the fastest pair of hands
on the beach
volleyball all
american polyglottal surging
armies forming in
the lysergic sky
hybrid vigorously
celtic gloriously
framed and nazarene
hebraic dream altar
imploding surfing
cathode diode
kabbalah baseball
from the warm california sun

Charlie Vermont

Note: Bill Pearlman’s Inzorbital, a novel of high research, the penultimate novel of the 60’s in New Mexico, was printed and publisher here in 1971.
Among the boys at the Thunderbird Bar
for Colonel Katona

was a sailor with tattooes
“hate” on one hand
“love” on the other
a confederate flag nearby

he hired Waylon and Willie
for $125 a night at the briefly
famous place where the cowboys
and the hippies met
and the Bandidos gang were
afraid to act out

he wanted a son
when the miscarriage came he
walk away from this orgiastic
life and from the bar
something about every substance
known to man
in large amounts

his vision then to become a doctor
went back to school
applied but couldn’t
get past the interview with his tattooes

he fasted and ran long distances
and from potential burley brawler
became slight
became ill
inflammation around the heart

surgery was done the cover
of the heart removed

in the Bible we are asked
to have a circumsized heart
before God

this sailor went on to an important
health care career rather than live
as he could have as a local myth
in his own time

When going gets tough and the sun
is coming up I recall Colonel Katona’s words:


Charlie Vermont

“I hope Steve likes this poem and Bill too. I’ve got a couple for Creeley but they’re hid away.

placitas lierary heritage flyer2008 I talked about Latif Harris, Charlie Vermont, David Harris, Ann Quin and many others, John Macker and Todd Moore about Ed Dorn, Jeff Bryan about Robert Creeley, Lisa Gill about Bobbie Louise Hawkins.

Thank you Charlie and Anne Vermont. Memory dreams. Anne I will never forget your Paella, and your phenomenal frozen lemon dessert, and Charlie I’ll always remember the bees you kept and some of them on the dashboard of your car when I got a ride with you to work: “Don’t worry they won’t wake up till after we’re there.”

Larry Goodell, 2014

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