Robert Grenier (RG) spoke at Columbia in March and I took some notes because I find his work and him to be completely fascinating. Thought others might want to see some of this too. [Note: my transcriptions of the poems are nothing like the poems and should be held very suspect. They are the (bad) map, and not the territory.]
RG has 170 books of these hand-written poems. Lately he has been thinking about ghosts - "ghosts presence as absence" - because of the deaths of Creeley, Scalapino, Bromige. He talked about his poem from Sentences: "gost." He says "One of my tasks is to bring the 'h' back into existence..."
Which is an allusion to the Creely poem that goes "here I am, there you are." (Look up). The "are" is the ghost here.
RG talks folks through the "making" of the poem, acts as an intermediary. The handwritten poem in the books is THE poem and his ideal reader would be the one who reads thru these.
AN A NO
ARD (AND) IGE
Works are made out of letters.
He reads some more:
He talks about writing the fact as it's happening in the letters themselves!!!
He says the poet only reaches the one who wants to read the poem.
(Hint to his "orthography": all the lines are underlined.)
This work is a form like a sonnet is a form.
“constructed artiface of the occasion” – letters in space
“lost in the enactment of the ‘line’” (meaning the line that makes up the letters)
An artist named John Bacchi (sic?) translates Grenier poems by drawing them out
“My deepest intention is that someone would read the 170 books…”
“I am the reader of the work as it is drawn.”
Sometimes people write to call it into being.
You can see the cloud and write it.
Some day I will be gone and I think someone will see that cloud.
“a potential occasion for another real experience”