Coyote’s Journal


“There is an unnamed school in contemporary North American poetry-a school that is not a school-which I’d like to give some definition to, by detailing a few of its characteristics. This range of poets does not factor much in discussions of the current ‘post-avant’ poetry scene, which I consider a loss because it shares recognizable roots with the experimentalists in what I regard as the great consolidations of the 1970s. Tongue partly in cheek-and because these days nearly everything gets called ‘post’-something-I call these poets Post Coyote. This is partly in reference to a fine enterprise, Coyote’s Journal, which began publication in 1964 and continues up to the present. But behind the journal hovers the stature of coyote as a North American culture hero, and of course there’s the critter’s notable success as a scavenger from the West Coast manzanita scrub to the woodlands of Vermont. For those who live in non-urban American settings, the coyote’s ululation is our cultural and emotional equivalent to the Japanese cherry tree. Didn’t Phil Whalen once write from Kyoto, ‘an entire civilization built on an inarticulate response to cherry blossoms’? Well, Coyote’s Journal did little publishing in the 1970s. Its main impact occurred in the mid to late sixties, but the poetics it stood for came into sharpest focus through the seventies. Post Coyote poets, bringing the lineage forward into the 21st century, share a number of touchstone interests and social or spiritual reference points. In particular these poets lean towards a land ethic (Aldo Leopold’s term) & a decentralized approach to community. Their general commitment to bioregion, rather than nation-state or Internationale, as well as their avoidance of academic life, may account for the group’s partial invisibility. I’m going to speak to a few Post Coyote qualities, or streams of influence, by tracking them into some important publications. Here I’ll begin with a bit of personal history. … His literary influences seemed to be Ezra Pound, and more ambiguously Robert Duncan, who appeared to baffle him. [Norman O.] Brown was a contributor to Clayton Eshleman’s journal Caterpillar, was a close friend & thorny critic of John Cage, a correspondent and briefly the lover of M.C. Richards, and knew Duncan well. …”
In Which Our Current Post Coyote Poetry Gets Tracked to the 1970s
NORTHWEST COYOTE
W – James Koller, W – Philip Whalen

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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