it ain't the middle of life but I'm still / lost in the woods
January 30, 2013 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Anselm Hollo, Finnish-born poet, translator, and teacher, has died. A major figure in the poetry avant garde for decades, Hollo was a professor at the Naropa Institute's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Robert Archambeau writes: "Hollo's grasp of the gulf between the sublimity of which poetry is capable, and the absurdities into which poets fall in pursuit of that chimera, a 'career in poetry,' made him the ideal person to hold the title of United States Anti-Laureate, to which he was elected by the Buffalo POETICS list back at the turn of the century."
posted by aught (7 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
You have to look out for naropa. Turns out people like me you know. Naropa peeps foreva! Down with my little friend "RJ" yo!

The best minds, madness

etcetera etcetra

burning in
the field
the banshee
wails eternal
speaking fast by
little table we all sat
eyes burning
the flames of intoxication
engulfing sanity
trungpa you say
I say womanizer
you say perception
moral relativity
you percieve moral behavior
and the lights go out
but the love remains
filling the dark
posted by xarnop at 12:21 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Incredible poet, thanks for bringing him to my attention.

In the Raging Balance

Energy, the man said, equals
Eternal Delight. Does our return to it
mean shedding all that was our art?
Task of The Living: to ask questions
of The Dead. You did it well, you
Weird and Funny Dude! I thank you
and wish you a good Eternal Night
in Tunisia or wherever you’ve taken
The Show. “The winds on the moon
blow so cold, so cold” could be a refrain
but isn’t nor will this last line rhyme
with anything but tears then again why
should it be the last line and come to
think of it it couldn’t possibly be

(Hilda Morley is another poet I recently encountered who is also amazing)
posted by Shit Parade at 12:37 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Naropa will probably get some eye-rolling around these parts (likely because of the controversial legacy of founder Chögyam Trungpa), but in addition to Hollo, the JKS poetry program has often featured important alternative and Buddhist poets like Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Andrew Schelling, Jack Collom, Alice Notley, Bernadette Mayer, Clark Coolidge, and Lisa Jarnot.
posted by aught at 12:43 PM on January 30, 2013

Naropa is a really interesting place and attracts an odd assortment of different types of folk, from the depressed beatnik crowd to the starry eye crystal gazers to the artsy feminist folk...

Back when itwas founded, the internet didn't really provide the same capacity to congregate and have interesting conversations and do the kind of learning offered there.

I also think for people serious about writing it IS good to have a safe space to cultivate your voice and getfeedback from interesting minds. There are a lot of debates to be had about arts in colleges- but to the extent that anyone values spaces where such arts are taught, it is in fact an excellent place to cultivate philosophical concepts, prose, and artistic expression.
posted by xarnop at 1:06 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

looks like the skeleton of a brain
if a brain had bones

I long ago read an interview with him where he said he wanted to spend the rest of his days translating three Russian poets. If I recall right his favorite was Mandelstam; the other two I have no idea what they were. But I do remember I thought highly enough of Hollo that I wrote down the names and went to the library to see what was there in translation and there was nothing.
posted by bukvich at 1:15 PM on January 30, 2013

I know next to nothing of Hollo’s own poetry (ignorance I intend now to belatedly rectify), but I’m well-acquainted with (and deeply grateful for) his fine translations of the Finnish poets Paavo Haavikko and Pentti Saarikoski.

posted by misteraitch at 1:41 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

This saddens me. Hollo's books have always cheered me up, filled me with wonder, and made me write.

He said some of my favorite things, too, like

"What we don't say, we don't know"


"Now that people are wearing hats, you can say 'Go shit in your hat!' again."

He was daring, too. The book he wrote with Rudy Rucker is well worth seeking out.

I believe I'll read some of his poems to my daughter tonight.
posted by the matching mole at 3:20 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Love and a gross misuse of office resources in...   |   You can easily hear the effects of the horn. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments