The Quick and the Quiet

The poets that peeked in the windows of the Berkeley Poetry Conference, circled together around Synapse and proclaimed their poetry from the streets gave a series of readings at Wobbly Hall on Minna Street from March to September 1965.  Seven readings over seven months.

I find it interesting that these poets who felt that the real power of their poetry could only be appreciated in its actual performance either on the street, in the coffeehouse or in the Hall produced so much paper.  The Le Metro scene set in amber by Dan Saxon demonstrates the same paradox.  As I mentioned earlier it is as if the poems did not really exist unless they were published.  Thus with Poems Read in the Spirit of Peace and Gladness it was essential to issue an anthology to immortalize a reading series.  Just having a reading is never enough.  Unless the tree in the forest was turned into a book, nobody would know it fell.  Or something like that.  How does all this paper comment on a group of poets influenced by Gary Snyder and his ecological consciousness?

From this cache of ephemera that documents the scene around the IWW reading series, I think the handbill announcing the reading for April captures the spirit of the times the best.  I would guess this was printed on a spirit duplicator given the color and the fading.  The handbill is almost illegible now.  Like the actual performance of the readings themselves, it leaves only the slightest trace.  A faint echo.  In addition like the street poetry, the handbill is one of the primary example of street literature, which in this case has been recycled by Facino/Palmer in order to write a note to set the context for his chapbook The Quick and the Quiet.  Yet once again a word of thanks or introduction would not suffice.  It must be written.  Similarly with the publication itself the mimeograph (the quick) is necessary to preserve that which threatens to be silenced.

BTW my scanner has shit the bed.  For the time being I will have to use my phone for images.  As they say on my commuter train nearly every day, we regret any inconvenience.



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