Book Beginning What and Ending Away by Clark Coolidge

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"A modern-day Rosetta Stone, Book Beginning What and Ending Away bridges the wild conceptual experimentalism of the 1960s and the rigid, doctrine-driven personal politics of the 1970s and early 1980s Language poets, while illuminating the path toward a freeform, devastating 'point perspective lyric' that is Coolidge's operative method today."—Tom Orange

At over five hundred pages of sustained, exhilarating prose, this work reconciles the relentless iconoclasm of the language poets with Clark Coolidge's own deeply rooted theories of abstraction and musicality, yet remains astonishingly readable more than thirty years after Coolidge abandoned the project—planned to be more than one thousand pages—in 1980. An act of radical endurance, a resurrected classic.

Why the same cave? It is continuous. The weight exists, a drill, and it is well. One bridge is older than the stream. Of indebtedness great ground now possess changes. Crack cavity in the sung Hallelujah Chorus. I took a drink, still older than unequivocally slabby. My sac deposit lies life size. The well we have is little more than this sheet-iron. The making system drapes the writer's contrast.

Author of more than twenty books of poetry, Clark Coolidge has occupied a singular place in American letters since the mid-1960s. An unparalleled influence on the wider avant-garde—the Language Poets, the second and third generation New York School, and whole movements of visual artists, musicians, and linguists, Coolidge is from Providence, Rhode Island. Since 1997 he has lived in Petaluma, California.


About Clark Coolidge

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Clark Coolidge (b. February 26, 1939) is an American poet born in Providence, Rhode Island. Often associated with the Language School, his experience as a Jazz drummer and interest in a wide array of subjects--including caves, geology, bebop, weather, Salvador Dali, Jack Kerouac, and movies--often finds correspondence in his work. Coolidge grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and has lived, among other places, in Manhattan, Cambridge (MA), San Francisco, Rome (Italy), and the Berkshire Hills. He currently lives in Petaluma, California. Kit Robinson is the author of DETERMINATION (Cuneiform Press, 2010), TRAIN I RIDE (BookThug, 2009), THE MESSIANIC TREES: SELECTED POEMS, 1976-2003 (Adventures in Poetry, 2008), THE CRAVE (Atelos, 2002) and 16 other books of poetry. A co-author of THE GRAND PIANO: AN EXPERIMENT IN COLLECTIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHY, SAN FRANCISCO, 1975-1980 (Mode A, 2006-2010), Robinson lives in Berkeley, California, where he works as a freelance writer and plays Cuban tres guitar in the Latin dance band Bahia Son.
Published March 26, 2013 by Fence Books. 560 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Book Beginning What and Ending Away

A formidable book-length poem, this is possibly veteran experimental poet Coolidge's major opus (if there is such a thing).

Apr 15 2013 | Read Full Review of Book Beginning What and Endin...

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