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Robert Duncan


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Table of Contents


Introduction: Discovery Making

The Opening of the Field (1960)
Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow -
The Dance
The Law I Love Is Major Mover
The Structure of Rime I
The Structure of Rime II
A Poem Slow Beginning
The Structure of Rime III
The Structure of Rime IV
The Structure of Rime V
The Structure of Rime VI
The Structure of Rime VII
Three Pages from a Birthday Book
This Place Rumord to Have Been Sodom
The Ballad of the Enamord Mage
The Ballad of Mrs Noah
The Maiden
The Propositions
Four Pictures of the Real Universe
Of Blasphemy
Nor Is the Past Pure
Crosses of Harmony and Disharmony
A Poem of Despondencies
Poetry, a Natural Thing
Keeping the Rhyme
A Song of the Old Order
The Question
The Performance We Wait For
At Christmas
Yes, as a Look Springs to Its Face
Yes, as a Look Springs to Its Face,
A Poem Beginning with a Line by Pindar
The Structure of Rime VIII
The Structure of Rime IX
The Structure of Rime X
The Structure of Rime XI
A Storm of White
Out of the Black
Bone Dance
Under Ground
The Natural Doctrine
The Structure of Rime XII
The Structure of Rime XIII
Another Animadversion
After Reading Barely and Widely
Ingmar Bergman's Seventh Seal
Food for Fire, Food for Thought
Uncollected Work 1957-1960
A Stray Poem (Notes Reading from Rene Fulop-Miller's The Power and Secrets of the Jesuits)
Melville after Pierre
The Song of the River to Its Shores
I Saw the Rabbit Leap
Roots and Branches (1964)
Roots and Branches
Roots and Branches
What Do I Know of the Old Lore?
Night Scenes
A Sequence of Poems for H.D.'s Birthday
A Letter
Nel Mezzo del Cammin di Nostra Vita
A Dancing Concerning a Form of Women
The Law
Sonneries of the Rose Cross
Now the Record Now Record
Variations on Two Dicta of William Blake
Cover Images
Come, Let Me Free Myself
Four Songs the Night Nurse Sang
Structure of Rime XV
Structure of Rime XVI
Structure of Rime XVII
Structure of Rime XVIII
Osiris and Set
Two Presentations
After a Passage in Baudelaire
Shelley's Arethusa Set to New Measures
After Reading H.D.'s Hermetic Definitions
Strains of Sight
Returning to the Rhetoric of an Early Mode
Two Entertainments
The Ballad of the Forfar Witches' Sing
A Country Wife's Song
What Happened : Prelude
A Set of Romantic Hymns
Thank You for Love
From The Mabinogion
Forced Lines
A New Poem (for Jack Spicer)
Sonnet 1
Sonnet 2
Sonnet 3
Adam's Way: A Play upon Theosophical Themes
A Part-Sequence for Change
Structure of Rime XIX
Structure of Rime XX
Structure of Rime XXI
The Continent
Uncollected Work 1961-1964
A Play with Masks
Weaving the Design
Old Testament
New Testament
Bending the Bow (1968)
Sonnet 4
Structure of Rime XXII
5th Sonnet
Such Is the Sickness of Many a Good Thing
Bending the Bow
Tribal Memories Passages 1
At the Loom Passages 2
What I Saw Passages 3
Where It Appears Passages 4
The Moon Passages 5
The Collage Passages 6
Envoy Passages 7
Structure of Rime XXIII
As in the Old Days Passages 8
The Architecture Passages 9
These Past Years Passages 10
Shadows Passages 11
Wine Passages 12
Structure of Rime XXIV
Structure of Rime XXV
The Fire Passages 13
Chords Passages 14
Spelling Passages 15
A Lammas Tiding
My Mother Would Be a Falconress
Saint Graal (after Verlaine)
Parsifal (after Wagner and Verlaine)
The Currents Passages 16
Moving the Moving Image Passages 17
The Torso Passages 18
The Earth Passages 19
Structure of Rime XXVI: For Kenneth Anger An Illustration Passages 20
The Multiversity Passages 21
In the Place of a Passage 22
Benefice Passages 23
Orders Passages 24
Up Rising Passages 25
The Chimeras of Gerard de Nerval
El Desdichado (The Disinherited)
The Christ in the Olive Grove
Golden Lines
Earth's Winter Song
Moira's Cathedral
A Shrine to Ameinias
Narrative Bridges for Adam's Way
The Soldiers Passages 26
An Interlude
Transgressing the Real Passages 27
The Light Passages 28
Eye of God Passages 29
Stage Directions Passages 30
Uncollected Work 1965-1968
At the Poetry Conference: Berkeley after the New York Style
We heard it as a cry. It was the Word.
Keeping the War Inside
Yes I care deeply and yet
Christmas Present, Christmas Presence!
From a Poem by John Ashbery
If I Had Kin
Ground Work: Before the War (1984)
Some Notes on Notation
Achilles' Song
Ancient Questions
A Song from the Structures of Rime Ringing as the Poet Paul Celan Sings
Despair in Being Tedious
The Concert Passages 31 (Tribunals)
Ancient Reveries and Declamations Passages 32 (Tribunals)
Transmissions Passages 33 (Tribunals)
The Feast Passages 34 (Tribunals)
Before the Judgment Passages 35 (Tribunals)
Santa Cruz Propositions
A Glimpse
And If He Had Been Wrong for Me
For Me Too, I, Long Ago Shipping Out with the Cantos
And Hell Is the Realm of God's Self-Loathing
Childhood's Retreat
Fragments of an Albigensian Rime
O! Passages 37
Bring It Up from the Dark
Structure of Rime XXVII
Structure of Rime XXVIII: In Memoriam Wallace Stevens
Over There
The Museum
Interrupted Forms
Poems from the Margins of Thom Gunn's Moly
Preface to the Suite
The Moly Suite
Near Circe's House
Rites of Passage: I
Rites of Passage: II
A Seventeenth Century Suite in Homage to the Metaphysical Genius in English Poetry (1590-1690)
1. Love's a great courtesy to be declared
2. Sir Walter Ralegh, What Is Our Life?
3. Go as in a dream
4. Robert Southwell, the Burning Babe
5. "A pretty Babe"-that burning Babe
6. George Herbert, Jordan (I)
7. George Herbert, Jordan (II)
8. These Lines Composing Themselves in My Head as I Awoke Early This Morning, It Being Still Dark, December 16, 1971 Passages 36
9. Ben Jonson, Hymenaei: Or the Solemnities of Masque, and Barriers
10. John Norris of Bemerton, Hymne to Darkness
Dante Etudes
Book One
We Will Endeavor
Secondary Is the Grammar
A Little Language
To Speak My Mind
Everything Speaks to Me
In the Way of a Question
Speech Directed
Enricht in the Increment
The Individual Man
Of Empire
The Meaning of Each Particular
The Whole Potentiality
The Work
The Household
Let Him First Drink of the Fountain
And Tho They Have No Vowel
Letting the Beat Go
Book Two
A Hard Task in Truth
The One Rule
Our Art but to Articulate
In Nothing Superior
On Obedience
Zealous Liberality
We Convivial in What Is Ours!
Mr. Philip Wicksteed Stumbling into Rime in Prose in Translating Dante's Convivio
Go, My Songs, Even as You Came to Me
Book Three
My Soul Was as If Free
Nor Dream in Your Hearts
For the Sea Is God's
Where the Fox of This Stench Sulks
In Truth Doth She Breathe Out Poisonous Fumes
Then Many a One Sang
In My Youth Not Unstaind
And a Wisdom as Such
Four Supplementary Etudes
Of Memory
I Too Trembling
But We, to Whom the World Is
The Missionaries Passages
The Torn Cloth
Songs of an Other
Empedoklean Reveries Passages
Jamais Passages
An Interlude of Winter Light
"Eidolon of the Aion"
The Presence of the Dance{ths}/{ths}The Resolution of the Music
Circulations of the Song
Uncollected Work 1969-1982
O tree of lights! tree of colors
After Shakespeare's Sonnet 76
Second Take on Shakespeare's Sonnet 76
Something Is Moving
A Fantasy Piece for Helen Adam
Feb. 22, 1973
I have{ths}/{ths}nothing to go on
A Prepucal Face for Nigel Roberts
Johnny's Thing
An Epithalamium
Poe et Cie
Let Me Join You Again This Morning, Walt Whitman
Ground Work II: In the Dark (1987)
An Alternate Life
In the South
The Quotidian
To Master Baudelaire
Toward His Malaise
Among His Words
The Face
At Cambridge an Address to Young Poets Native to the Land of My Mothertongue
Le Sonnet Ou Sonne la Sonnette des Dernieres Jours Toujours Fait Son Retour
Pour Souffrir l'Envie Jusqu'a l'Amour en Vie
Sets of Syllables, Sets of Words, Sets of Lines, Sets of Poems Addressing: Veil, Turbine, Cord, & Bird
Preliminary Exercise
Notes during a Lecture on Mathematics
The Recall of the Star Miraflor
The Naming of the Time Ever
I Pour Forth My Life from This Bough
The Turbine
What the Sonnet Means the Sonnet Means
For the Assignment of the Spirit
The Cherubim (I)
The Cherubim (II)
The Sentinels
An Eros/Amor/Love Cycle
Et Passages
In Wonder Passages
Constructing the Course of a River in the Pyrenees
In Waking
From the Fall of 1950, December 1980
Two Sets of Tens: Derived from Confucian Analects
Regulators Set of Passages
The Dignities Passages
The First Passages
Stimmung Passages
Enthralld Passages
Quand le Grand Foyer Descend dans les Eaux Passages
In Blood's Domaine Passages
After Passage Passages
With In Passages
Seams Passages
You, Muses Passages
Structure of Rime: Of the Five Songs
The Five Songs
Whose Passages
At the Door
Illustrative Lines
After a Long Illness
Uncollected Work 1983-1988
In Passage

Appendix: Table of Contents for Roots and Branches
Selected Bibliography
Index of Titles and First Lines

About the Author

Robert Duncan (1919-1988) was a foremost figure in the San Francisco Renaissance and is considered one of the most accomplished and influential postwar American poets. He became a leading practitioner of nontraditional open form poetry, his later work shaped by ideas associated with Charles Olson and the Black Mountain School of poetry. During his lifetime, he published more than a dozen collections of poems, including those in this volume, which remain his best-known works.

Peter Quartermain taught contemporary poetry and poetics at the University of British Columbia for over thirty years. He is the author of Basil Bunting, Poet of the North; Disjunctive Poetics: From Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky to Susan Howe; and Stubborn Poetries: Poetic Facticity and the Avant-Garde. He is the editor of Robert Duncan's Collected Early Poems and Plays (UC Press).


"Includes some of Duncan's finest essays . . . a great help to all readers." * CHOICE *
"The Collected Later Poetry and Plays represents the assured completion of the vital gathering already underway with The Collected Early Poetry and Plays. With these two volumes the canon of Duncan's poetry is fully established and readily available to a broad audience." * Bookslut *

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