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Patrick James Dunagan at the Zenith of Duncan Publications

By Harriet Staff


We are so on board for this one! At Bookslut, Patrick James Dunagan on the heyday of Duncan publication:

With publication of Robert Duncan’s The Collected Later Poems and Plays and The Collected Essays and Other Prose, the heyday of Duncan publication has reached its zenith. Finally everything Duncan published is readily available to readers, or rather nearly everything. There are still a few dozen uncollected pieces of prose listed in an appendix in back of Collected Essays that await publication in a future volume, perhaps alongside transcriptions of lectures and/or interviews likewise left out of the recent, ever-terrific A Poet’s Mind: Collected Interviews.

Throughout his working life, Duncan proved himself nothing if not verbose. As exhaustive a talker as he was prolific a writer, he evolved a practice of always being in process of developing ideas while in the very act of explicating upon them. One result of his colossal output is that much of the as-of-now uncollected material likely duplicates ideas readily found in Collected Essays and Other Prose.

The Collected Later Poetry and Plays represents the assured completion of the vital gathering already underway with The Collected Early Poetry and Plays. With these two volumes the canon of Duncan’s poetry is fully established and readily available to a broad audience. Each collection gathered and published by Duncan is reproduced with sections of uncollected individual poems grouped by year published appearing in between and substantial notes in back give further details concerning much of the work.

There is more than a hint of unorthodox, wide-open yet nonetheless priestly sacrament to these texts. We’re undoubtedly at the brink of a too-long-in-coming renaissance of fevered interest in and appreciation for Duncan’s substantial contribution to Poetic Orders.

Treats! Learn more about Robert Duncan and the present moment in Duncan scholarship at Bookslut.

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Posted in Poetry News on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 by Harriet Staff.