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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Carl Rakosi at 100  

Today The Philadelphia Inquirer published the names and photos of the most recent American war dead. The Inquirer reports that "November was the deadliest month yet for U.S. troops in Iraq; 81 died, 39 in helicopter crashes." The section "Killed in the Line of Duty," is not available online.

Looking at the photos made me think of a poem by Carl Rakosi from his "Americana" series; the poems in the series feature a host of voices and characters that have a colloquial bite.

--Tom Devaney


FROM RAKOSI’S AMERICANA SERIES


I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts
the Vincents hit us tonight.
The village chief just took off,
claiming he had business in Danang.

I’d like to take off myself,
all the way to Flint, Michigan.
For openers I’d show up at the airport
with a big sign, GET THE MARINES OUT OF VIETNAM.
Under that in smaller letters:
                                           starting with me.




******************
This weekend Jen Hofer has organized a two day Carl Fest in LA.

A CELEBRATION OF CARL RAKOSI'S WRITING ON THE OCCASION OF HIS 100TH BIRTHDAY


Beyond Baroque
681 Venice Boulevard
(slightly east of the corner of Shell & Venice)
Venice, CA
http://beyondbaroque.org
310.822.3006

12 December, Friday - 7:30 PM
A CELEBRATION OF CARL RAKOSI'S WRITING ON THE OCCASION OF HIS 100TH BIRTHDAY

With Carl Rakosi, Wanda Coleman, Tom Devaney, Patrick Durgin, Jen Hofer, Jerome Rothenberg, and Paul Vangelisti. Carl Rakosi, born in Hungary, moved to the U.S. in 1910. A key figure in a group of poets who came to prominence in the 30's, known as the Objectivists - including Charles Reznikoff, George Oppen, and Louis Zukofsky (who regarded Rakosi as the lyric poet in the group) and later Lorine Niedecker - Rakosi's poems first appeared in The Little Review, where Joyce, Eliot, Pound, and Hemingway were first published, and in Pound's The Exile. Wallace Stevens said about Rakosi's work: "What excites you most of all is real things. . .actual objects and people... In short you view the imagination as a foil, something for contrast." Rakosi has won many awards, including 5 NEA Awards and a PEN Literary Award and has published 15 books, most recently The Old Poet's Tale and The Earth Suite (Etruscan Press, available through Small Press Distribution); Poems 1923-1941 (Ed. Andrew Crozier, Sun & Moon Press), and The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (National Poetry Foundation). He lives in San Francisco, where he continues to write poetry and essays.


13 December, Saturday - 1:00 PM

A CONVERSATION WITH CARL RAKOSI AND FRIENDS
It's not often we have the chance to talk in person with a writer who has been alive - ardently, voraciously, attentively, keenly alive - for an entire century. Join poet Carl Rakosi along with Tom Devaney, Patrick Durgin, Jen Hofer, Jerome Rothenberg, and Mark Salerno for a conversation about a wide range of topics limited only by our imaginations.





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