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This article is taken from PN Review 202, Volume 38 Number 2, November - December 2011.

Out of Town: Robert Duncan, Michael McClure, and The Ground Aslant John Muckle
ROBERT DUNCAN, The H.D. Book (University of California Press) $49.95
MICHAEL McCLURE, Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems (University of California Press) $34.95
Harriet Tarlo (ed.), The Ground Aslant: An Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry (Shearsman Books) £12.95

Robert Duncan's whole poetic journey began in a high school classroom when his teacher, Miss Keough, read him H.D.'s imagist poem 'Heat'. The dreamy boy, locked into the Eng. Lit. curriculum of a school designed to turn out well-balanced upper-middle-class machines to run corporate America, noticed that there was a special way Miss Keough spoke of, read aloud from or alluded to certain literary works, as though they formed a secret tradition, almost forbidden, unofficial, and certainly subversive in the extreme emotions and selfish vaulting hopes they engendered; but somehow, he intuited in her presence, these charged words were central to what reading, and to what was alive and dangerous in all culture, was all about. Miss Keough's favourites included Hardy, Lawrence, the Brontës, English Romantic poets, romantic American modernists, Amy Lowell, Joyce and Woolf and Pound- all of it leaping in radical implication out of this short poem of H.D.'s, which Duncan obsessively unpacks and returns to throughout The H.D. Book. Miss Keough seems to have served up this hidden tradition to her class in glimpses, flashing vistas, sparking in Duncan the idea that this high pure radical tradition was somehow feminine in its voice, its concerns, its basic tenor, and - a crucial word - ...


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