The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser

The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser

The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser

The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser

Synopsis

Robin Blaser, one of the key North American poets of the postwar period, emerged from the "Berkeley Renaissance" of the 1940s and 1950s as a central figure in that burgeoning literary scene. The Holy Forest, now spanning five decades, is Blaser's highly acclaimed lifelong serial poem. This long-awaited revised and expanded edition includes numerous published volumes of verse, the ongoing "Image-Nation" and "Truth Is Laughter" series, and new work from 1994 to 2004. Blaser's passion for world making draws inspiration from the major poets and philosophers of our time--from friends and peers such as Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, Charles Olson, Charles Bernstein, and Steve McCaffery to virtual companions in thought such as Hannah Arendt, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida, among others. This comprehensive compilation of Blaser's prophetic meditations on the histories, theories, emotions, experiments, and countermemories of the late twentieth century will stand as the definitive collection of his unique and luminous poetic oeuvre.

Excerpt

For a reader to begin here may well prove displacing if one expects to find either a simple explanation or some securing directions. I have read Robin Blaser’s consummate poetry for years, but I cannot predicate its authority on any sense that it has answered the questions which compelled it or come to the conclusion of what it thought to say. What has to be recognized is that these poems are not a defining “progress,” or a skilfully accomplished enclosure. Above all else I must emphasize a sense often echoed here, that the “unfolded fold” to be found in his work—the turn, the bend in the road, the “twist” of Charles Olson’s preoccupation—is the nexus of its life and the life it has made so movingly eloquent. No one is going anywhere—as if to get “there” were the sole possibility.

Reading these poems, one finds a life that is inexorably human, the adamant given of our common fact. Yet Descartes’s curiously meagre proposition, “I think, therefore I am,” can nonetheless empower the imagination, and “Only the imagination is real,” as William Carlos Williams insisted to anyone who would listen. All else lives by the fate of its active being, its seemingly unreflective fact. But our human life yields a double, its acts and the thinking coincident. Who knows which more proves our determining world?

I first knew Robin Blaser as one of an almost mythic band, a triad composed of himself and his fellow poets Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer. In his valuable essay “The Practice of Outside,” which . . .

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