Literary Nonfiction. Poetry. Essays. NO HIERARCHY OF THE LOVELY celebrates the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the poet Robert Duncan, a key figure of the San Francisco Renaissance and the Black Mountain school of poetry, by recognizing his accomplishments as a prose writer. Comprised of ten texts published throughout each of the six decades of his writing, this volume brings together a wide variety of Duncan's uncollected prose. As for their content, these writings touch upon some of the larger issues in poetry and poetics that Duncan explored throughout the course of his life. Together, they demonstrate the challenge that Duncan's work still presents for anyone who would be a "serious reader" of "creative events" and his continuing reminder of the need "to keep open and vulnerable the boundaries of our imagination in the universe."
"Described by Kenneth Rexroth as 'one of the most accomplished, one of the most influential' of the postwar American poets, Robert Duncan was an important part of both the Black Mountain school of poetry, led by Charles Olson, and the San Francisco Renaissance, whose other members included poets Jack Spicer and Robin Blaser. A distinctive voice in American poetry, Duncan's idiosyncratic poetics drew on myth, occultism, religion—including the theosophical tradition in which he was raised—and innovative writing practices such as projective verse and composition by field. During his lifetime, critics such as M.L. Rosenthal heralded him as 'the most intellectual of our poets from the point of view of the effect upon him of a wide, critically intelligent reading.' Duncan's work drew on a wide range of references, including Homer, Dante, and the work of modernist poets such as H.D. His many books of poetry include Heavenly City Earthly City (1947), The Opening of the Field (1960), Roots and Branches (1964), A Book of Resemblances (1966), Bending the Bow (1968), and, after a 15-year publishing hiatus, the influential volumes Ground Work I: Before the War (1984) and Ground Work II: In the Dark (1987). His Selected Poems (1993) was published posthumously, as was his volume of collected writings, and personal tribute to the work of H.D., The H.D. Book (2011)."—The Poetry FoundationCurator of the Poetry Collection at the University at Buffalo, James Maynard has published widely on and edited a number of collections relating to Duncan including Robert Duncan: Collected Essays and Other Prose, which received the Poetry Foundation's 2014 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, and most recently Robert Duncan and the Pragmatist Sublime (2018). He lives in Buffalo, New York.Author City: USA