Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Because this is supposed to be a blog about poetry...

...Among other things.

I met someone who knew Rexroth. She said he was an asshole and an abusive husband. Too bad, the guy could really get the words to line up right.

5 comments:

ib said...

I'm not familiar with Kenneth Rexroth. That is something - one other thing - I ought to try and remedy. I like his delivery.

Last Sunday I watched the movie adaptation of "Factotum". I could not believe Matt Dillon had landed the role. Still; it was not Ben Gazarra.

Actually, Dillon was not quite so bad as I'd feared. I'd expected Ham on Rye with the emphasis on ham, but his portrayal had its moments. Too young and handsome, though. And macho with the intonation.

I'd liked to have seen Bukowski going it alone.

What was missing was the humour, especially. A reviewer revealed to the tv public that the director had injected a rich vein of black humour into his film to alleviate the torture of the truth, the fool. I don't believe he had ever read Bukowski.

Jon said...

Dillon was brilliant in Drug Store Cowboy. I was willing to go along with him in Factotum. The director was Norwegian, the film was made in Minneapolis. Bukowski was German and Los Angeles was in his veins. I enjoyed Factotum, but it didn't really make a lot of sense.

Rexroth was an incredible figure he connected the Abolitionists with the punks. His parents were midwestern radical abolitionists, he knew some of the great figures of the pre WWI radical labor movement, helped create the San Fran arts scene and was there to greet the Beats when they emerged, was the MC at the famous Six Gallery poetry reading where Howl was first read, he taught poetry to the hippies in SF and Santa Barbara and was, just before his death, a mentor to Kathy Acker, one of the first writers to emerge from the early SF punk scene.

His autobiography, An Autobiographical Novel, is one of the great historical documents of American cultural radicalism.

ib said...

Well. Ignoring Rexroth for one second.

It's like "Factotum" itself, I suppose, darting backwards and forwards in time and confusing "Jan" with "Jane".

Not bad. But the book itself was merely a glimpse of the period Bukowski inhabited.

I never really got Kathy Acker, as much as I wanted to. A bit like the whole Cyberpunk phenomenom; other writers included. I didn't find her writing sexy; I didn't find her writing very controversial either.

I like Ray Bradbury a lot. His short stories, especially. Ditto Harlan Ellison and Philip K. Dick. All the usual suspects.

I hate Science Fiction with the emphasis on the technological. Boring and often so wide of the mark it makes one wince.

I always felt Kathy Acker was taking the piss. Like, if you didn't get it that was simply because you couldn't appreciate only women can bleed. Like Alice Cooper with a lipstick pink vibrating dildo and his thigh under stocking.

Jon said...

I'm not a Kathy Acker fan. My only point in mentioning her was to illustrate the span of Rexroth's years. As a child he knew veterans of the New Harmony commune in pre civil war Indiana. As an old man he knew people from the Mabuhay Gardens crowd in San Francisco. In between he walked picket lines with Joe Hill and drank with Jack Kerouac.

ib said...

Point taken. On the chin. Man, that was quick.

I need to delve a bit further re Rexroth, but such is my habitual laziness it is doubtful...

There are so fucking many writers I still need to invest time in, and I no longer have the tenacity of spirit or will.

I would like to have drank with Kerouac, though. I liked his rhythm. I do not really care too much that he was alone in a room with a typewriter while Cassidy did the living. Or Robert Stone. Or Hunter S. Thompson and Jim. Or Bukowski.

Or Steve Fisher.

It is a very thin line between living and writing. One means nothing without the other. You have to keep your bullshit detector clean and strumming.

That can be a very tall order if you don't stay tuned.

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