This drawing illustrates an article published in a 1960 issue of the New York Times about the republication that year of Mein Kamp and the spate just then of books about the Nazis. What's a bookstore shopper to do?
I've been avidly researching the year 1960 with (as readers of this blog can easily discern) a special emphasis on poetry & poetics. Was '60 the turning-point year that I think it was? I suspect a claim could be made either way and in fact I'm more interested at the moment in describing why, despite all the new-decade & new-generation rhetoric, it is a point of continuity more than of change. Change was touted; continuity is the understory. In any case, I want to reach widely across politics and culture to get as rich a context as I can. Is '60 the moment when the end of the end of the Old Left had been reached and the New Left began to emerge? Is it the final ascendancy, in certain scenes at least, of poetic postmodernity? Surely the publication of Donald Allen's The New American Poetry that year suggests this, but then again--once again--we look back on "New" here and see continuity. The rhetoric of the Kennedy-Nixon contest made much less of a dent than everyone (at the time as well as since) claimed, so one wonders why were such great claims made? Had we come to expect "1960" to be truly ubiquitously modern in a way that the 1950s really were not--not quite? And what specifically does "modern" mean in the Kennedyesque talk then and now about the torch being passed to a new generation, etc.? The First Lady really meant "modernist" when Camelotians said "modern." What about the others across the new young cultural leadership? I've been surprised by how frequently the "Beat movement" was covered in 1960 in the mainstream press. I was expecting a fair measure but I've found tonnage. 1960 was the year when the figure of the beat was beginning to find acceptance, although still 80% of these stories are mocking, rebels-without-cause condescension. For anyone whose analysis made an impact nationally, do these antipolitical adolescents count as part of the "new young cultural leadership"? No, but rather than the two being opposites, they fall along a Continuum of the New American. Now that's a change for '60.
Rothko, Untitled (1960)
Sam Umland's blog
In Sam Umland's 60x50 blog, "the date [they seem all, at the moment, to be dates from 1960] used in each blog entry is merely a prompt, a method used to open up a particular direction of research and discovery."
Ubuweb is generally fabulous but reaches selectively back to '60 for concrete poets, Fluxus folks, etc. Wikipedia, not normally my favorite source, has a helpful chronology of the year. My own huge & oft-visited 1950s site has a number of 1960 materials. While Michael Davidson's San Francisco Renaissance covers a wide period, there are a number of 1960 moments in it. The Hugh Kenner papers at Harry Ransom Center, UT Austin, includes a good many letters dated 1960....
sound synthesizer with a soundy name
Questioner: First off: Does your name rhyme with "vogue" or is like a cow’s "moo" plus a "G" at the end?
Moog: It rhymes with vogue. That is the usual German pronunciation. My father's grandfather came from Marburg, Germany. I like the way that pronunciation sounds better than the way the cow's "moo-g" sounds.
Tim at Short Shrift wrote a very nice review of this and also my main blog:
"One poetry critic that I know, though, gives pretty good chase. Al Filreis has not one but two very good poetry blogs. The first, "Al Filreis," covers roughly the same ground as Silliman's, but with a heavier focus on the events Filreis runs at Penn's Kelly Writers House, and indexing Filreis's own critical work (past and present). There's a really thoughtful post-let about the relationship between writing, sound, and poetry. And Filreis has a real feel for both the history of poetry and everyday poetic experiments.
More interesting, at least to me, is Filreis's work-in-progress blog, 1960. Filreis mines newspaper articles, occasional speeches, and museum catalogs, which gives him a sort of immanent look into the culture at the moment, while still having the distance of a contemporary perspective. I've always been interested in radically synchronic (and radically diachronic) approaches to cultural history, so mapping out the literature, art, culture, and politics of a single year, rather than a single author or book or work or movement, is already appealing.
Already, I think, you get a sense of what works in this kind of historical excavation. But I think that by putting out the work in short entries, as a blog, it takes on a different character -- it's almost like reading a literature and culture blog from 1960, moving through snapshots of the year's moments, taking digressions into minor figures, taking stock of the distant (and not-too-distant) past from the more recent past. It's one of the most interesting academic blogs I've started reading in a long time, not least because it has a great deal to offer for the nonacademic (and even nonpoetry-savvy) audience."
"the New Left so far has been lazy about its political and economic analysis because it too easily depended, not for its vocabulary but its assumptions, on the Old Left; and it was superficial in its cultural observations." MORE...
No first-class war can now be fought Till all that can be sold is bought. So do get going helter-skelter And sell each citizen a shelter Wherein, while being bombed and strafed, he Can reek and retch and rot in safety. MORE...
After adolescence, this is no time when modern poetry cannot be seen for the fraud it is. Recently a friend told me that William Carlos Williams was an exception. To my horror I found his poetry full of anti-democratic ideas, anti-Semitism, anti-Negro sentiments--the very symptoms of the virus of "modernism" which Mr. Shapiro discusses. MORE...