Hate Ashbery

Despite being household names, Olson and Ginsberg are two of the most misspelled poets in the canon.  Olson as Olsen you see everywhere from book reviews to academic journals to blog posts.  Given Allen Ginsberg's name recognition you would think people had his name down, but the hairy guru's name spells double trouble for his many readers and admirers.  Allan Ginsberg, Alan Ginsberg, Allen Ginsburg.  You get the idea.

John Ashbery's poems are well-known for being difficult to read and understand.  The same goes for his name.  Asbury, Ashbury, Ashberry.  The boys of Ole manage to misread Ashbery in almost every possible way.  I think this comes from pure ignorance, but maybe not the type you would think.  The Ole poets wear their anti-intellectualism on their sleeves but their mauling of Ashbery's name is not symbolic of their being ignorant of Ashbery in terms of awareness or understanding.  Instead, they choose to simply ignore him and, in fact, the entire New York School.  Rare is the mention of Frank O'Hara, James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch or Ashbery in the pages of Ole.  The same goes for Berrigan and Company.  I was surprised that the publications of C Press were not reviewed in The Godzilla Issue.  The inclusion of Angel Hair Books publications is the exception that proves the rule.  In fact, you will flip through Ole in vain for any mention of the big name NYC mimeos:  definitely no C, Fuck You or Floating Bear.  Minor nods to Kulchur and Angel Hair.

For the Ole poets, New York was the symbol of forced and flaccid Art and Intellectualism and nobody would represent that more than John Ashbery and, so it seems, the publications of C Press (I will have to dig deeper on this; I have to think Berrigan corresponded and interacted with Blazek on many levels.).  It also seems that the Ole crew sniffed out something rotten in with Sanders and Fuck You (note to dig deeper on this as well).  Maybe the stench of Artiness as represented by Freak Power.  The antidote prescribed by Ole for the poisonous influence of New York City could be the person and presses of Kirby Congdon.  Not surprisingly Congdon slipped through the cracks in the sidewalk of the Secret Location, but his Interim Books (started with Jay Socin) and the related Crank Books along with the little magazine Magazine (a six issue job not to be confused with Lewis Ellingham's two issue job) merit a close read (I am planning on turning to Magazine after Ole), particularly for Congdon's essays and editorials which closely read the Mimeo Scene.



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