Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 in News | No Comments
RAWORTH GOLIARD web

Moving (Cape Goliard, 1971, art by Joe Brainard); The Relation Ship (Goliard, 1966, art by Barry Hall)

RAWORTH MISC web

Heavy Light (Actual Size, 1984); Lazy Left Hand (Actual Size, 1986); That More Simple Natural Time Tone Distortion (UCONN, 1975); Writing (The Figures, 1982)

RAWORTH OUTBURST web

Outburst 1, 1961. I asked Tom why he printed Outburst in multiple colors, he said, ‘I would set the type after work, time was of essence, so I just used whatever ink happened to be on the press.’

RAWORTH POLTROON web

Muted Hawks (Poltroon, 1995, art by Alastair Johnston); Nicht Wahr, Rosie? (Poltroon, 1979); The Mask (Poltroon, 1976); Logbook (Poltroon, 1976, art by Frances Butler)

RAWORTH TRIGRAM web

Lion Lion (Trigram, 1970, hardcover and limited); Act (Trigram, 1973, art by Barry Flanagan); Big Green Day (Trigram, 1968, art by Jim Dine)

RAWORTH ZI web

Common Sense (Zephyrus Image, 1976); Cloister (Zephyrus Image, 1975, art by Michael Myers)

Yesterday I happened to be reading an interview I conducted with Tom Raworth ten years ago and felt especially grateful to him for thoughtfully, patiently, candidly, answering my questions as a fledging poet and printer. We discussed his early literary journal, Outburst, and two of his early presses, Matrix and later, with Barry Hall, Goliard. We also discussed his publications with Zephyrus Image, Trigram, and Poltroon Press, three publishers whose work had a profound impact on my thinking about poetry, typography, and artists’ books. Thinking back now, our first conversation was a few years earlier in Robert Creeley’s living room in that warm old firehouse in Buffalo, where he gave a reading unlike any I had attended previously: poems and questions from the audience were seamlessly intertwined, teaching me that poetry is a conversation, part of everyday life, inspiring me to incorporate humor and everyday speech into my poems. If I recall correctly, he had a cast on his leg and we ate peanuts that Penelope put out. His humor, quick wit, kindness, and modesty appealed to me on the instant. He offered me another way of thinking about politics in poetry, one that wasn’t academic or heavy-handed, but graceful, amusing, critical, and confrontational all at once. Reading a big stack of his books last night and on till the dawn after learning of his impending death, I thought of the disquieting jumps and enjambment prevalent in so many of his poems, and the real work of keeping up in this life, the necessity of moving forward in these quick synapses where intuition and instinct butt against reason and logic. Contrary to the timeworn adage that a writer must write every day, Tom insisted that making things and being creative every day, was more important to him. That stuck with me and I still aspire to that. Tom also had a knack for writing wonderful obituaries, which this is not, but a quiet reflection and offering of some of his books, which, taken off the shelf, leave a void nearly two feet wide. In 2015, I had the honor of typesetting his book, Structure From Motion (Edge) which begins with a beautiful epigraph from Wittgenstein: ‘our talk gets its meaning / from the rest of our proceedings’ and a dedication to ‘absent, present, and future friends.’ Thank you Tom, for all of that, all of this, and so much more.

RAWORTH TOWER web

Some of Tom’s books