Poetry. "Poems Written in Rome, October 1984 - February 1985" is the note below the manuscript title of ODES OF ROBA ("Roba" means "stuff" in Italian slang), a period which marked Clark Coolidge's first experience of Italy, particularly Rome, an immersion of five months in an architectural complex and cultural dilation long imagined, often heard extolled by Philip Guston, Alvin Curran, and others, and now finally present in the dailiness of the poet's life as a Writer-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome. In bursts of energy and concentrated excitement, Coolidge catches the verbal light in its multiple bounce off physical presence and cognitive angle alike. Rome is catalyst, oracle, the sound of water. As in his long poem AT EGYPT, written in response to a trip up the Nile River, and in the two as-yet unpublished books written following two visits to the former Soviet Union, ODES OF ROBA preserves this heterodox poet's nominative expedition into the present foreign ancient flux.
Clark Coolidge is the author of more than fifty books, including THE LAND OF ALL TIMES (Lithic Press, 2020), Space, Solution Passage, The Crystal Text, At Egypt, NOW IT's JAZZ: WRITINGS ON KEROUAC & THE SOUNDS (Living Batch Press, 1999), The Act of Providence, 88 SONNETS (Fence Books, 2012), A Book Beginning What And Ending Away, and most recently, Poet. Connected to both the Language movement and the New York School, his poetry utilizes syntactical and sonic patterns to engage, and generate, meaning. In a 1968 poetics statement, he noted, "Words have a universe of qualities other than those of descriptive relation: Hardness, Density, Sound-Shape, Vector-Force, & Degrees of Transparency/Opacity." Initially a drummer, he was a member of David Meltzer's Serpent Power in 1967 and Mix group in 1993-94. More recently, Coolidge performed duos with Thurston Moore (Among The Poetry Stricken, on Fast Speaking Music) and free improv with Ouroboros (online).Author City: Petaluma, CA USA