*Serendipity*, the amazing bookstore on
University in Berkeley, takes my breath
away, and on this occasion, a few dollars
also, but I didn't mind.
Both were Black Sparrow books, one by
Jackson Mac Low, *22 Light Poems*, gorgeous,
fascinating book from 1968 (I met Jackson
in 1967, in jail, but that's another story).
The other book, *Ex Cranium, Night* by
Carl Rakosi, was signed by the author to
the poet Stephen Rodefer. It contains this
powerful passage, a notion that, for me,
cannot be repeated too often:
"The practice of ranking poets as major or
minor, the bastard offspring of grading students,
freezes the poet in his tracks and makes him
a nobody if he is less than great. This situation
tempts him unduly into lofty postures,the breeding
ground of rhetoric and abstraction, and intimidates
his most precious asset, his individuality.
What does ranking have to do with poetry anyhow? The term, *major*,
when it is not a sales gimmick, is the
creation of those who like the power of dispensing
judgment and need a medium in which to display their
It has become a great plaything and a way to silence
poetry and put it away.
This world has more parrots than the jungles of Brazil."
Also saw the reprint of Ron Silliman's beautiful book
*Tjanting* in Moe's yesterday with preface by Barrett
Watten. Also, a copy of the first edition of Charles
Bernstein's *Controlling Interests* at a very good price.
Less advice, more response, support, encouragement and recognition.
The chickens were less fun yesterday; we
had to run around for half an hour forcing
them back in the pen. How quickly we living beings