TAXI NIGHT — Poetry by Cliff Fyman — Review

Marc Olmsted

TAXI NIGHT Poetry by Cliff Fyman Long News Books $15.00 I connected with Cliff Fyman some years after his association with Naropa University (then Institute) and its 1977 Summer Writing Program - a heyday-hosting of teachers like William Burroughs, Anne Waldman, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. I met him through then-fellow student writers Peter Marti and Vincent Zangrillo. Although late in the book, there is this poetic statement from Fyman, and it sums up his view: I see every object alive and luminous and at the same time I see the decay and death inherent in it’s very shining. Cliff Fyman is essentially influenced by William Carlos Williams and his school of Objectvism, something Allen Ginsberg returned full circle to in his teaching at Naropa. Cliff learned to sit in the Buddhist style of “calm abiding,” shamatha. Add to that - he is also Zionist, pacifist ...
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The Brothers Silver: A Poet’s Novel – Review

Sparrow

The Brothers Silver: A Poet’s Novel by Marc Jampole Poets write novels invertedly; the language comes first, then the plot ‒ if there even is a plot. In his Acknowledgments, Marc Jampole mentions a number of poems that have been transformed into prose in The Brothers Silver. My favorite poet-novels are by Beat luminary-turned-Zen Buddhist monk Philip Whalen: Imaginary Speeches for a Brazen Head and You Didn’t Even Try. Both are gentle, sad, inconclusive portraits of San Francisco in the mid-1960s. The writing is deceptively simple, but there is a poet’s languor; a sense of the narrator watching patiently, from a great distance. Jampole writes tempestuously, with rising and flipping wordplay: Desire to play Oberon in the school play claws at me. This hunger doesn’t rest, to say out loud in front of everyone, “At a fair vestal thronèd by the west….” To a mirror twin, I exclaim my lines for hours. Audition day I ...
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Cultivating Pippi Longstocking

Neil Martinson

One warm spring afternoon in 1990 I was walking across the Williamsburg Bridge on my way to Manhattan, as I’d done countless times during my years in Brooklyn. A recent, tumultuous breakup was still fresh in my mind, but I was beginning to feel somewhat liberated, enjoying the freedom of finally living alone, and learning to have fun again. The bridge scene from Pippi On The Run flashed into my mind, and in a split second I knew what I had to do. In this movie, the heroine Pippi Longstocking’s indomitable approach to life achieves its peak expression, centering around her ability to achieve anything she wants, often by refusing to accept the impossible. The scene in my mind has Pippi and her two friends Tommy and Annika looking down from a bridge at a steam-engine train chugging along the tracks below. Pippi suggests all three of them jump off the bridge onto the roof of the moving train. Uptight Annika begs her not to do it, bu...
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