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Encyclopedia > Robert Duncan (poet)

Robert Duncan (January 7, 1919February 3, 1988), was an American poet associated with the Black Mountain poets and the beat generation. He was a key part of the San Francisco Renaissance January 7 is the seventh day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... February 3 is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Black Mountain poets, sometimes called the Projectivist poets, were a group of mid 20th century American avant-garde or postmodern poets centered around Black Mountain College. ... The term Beat Generation refers primarily to a group of American writers of the 1950s whose work strongly influenced the cultural transformations of the 60s. ... The term San Francisco Renaissance is used as a global designation for a range of poetic activity centred around that city and which brought it to prominence as a hub of the American poetic avant-garde. ...

Duncan was born in Oakland, California. His mother died in childbirth and he was adopted by a family of devout Theosophists and grew up surrounded by the occult in one form or another. He started studying at the University of California, Berkeley in 1936. He started writing poems inspired by his left wing politics and acquired a reputation as a bohemian. In 1938, he briefly attended Black Mountain College, but left after a dispute with faculty on the subject of the Spanish Civil War. He spent two years in Philadelphia and then moved to Woodstock, New York, where he worked on James Cooney's magazine The Phoenix and met Henry Miller and Anais Nin, who both admired his poetry. Oakland, founded in 1852, is a major city on the east side (also called East Bay) of San Francisco Bay in Northern California in the United States. ... Seal of the Theosophical Society Theosophy is a body of ideas which holds that all religions are attempts by man to ascertain the Divine, and as such each religion has a portion of the truth. ... It has been suggested that UC Mens Chorale be merged into this article or section. ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... In politics, left-wing, political left, leftism, or simply the left, are terms which refer (with no particular precision) to the segment of the political spectrum typically associated with any of several strains of socialism, social democracy, or liberalism (especially in the American sense of the word), or with opposition... 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... This article is in need of attention. ... The Spanish Civil War (July 18th 1936–April 1st 1939) was a conflict in which the democratic government known as the Second Spanish Republic and allied political left-wing groups fought against a right-wing nationalist coup led by General Francisco Franco, who eventually succeeded in ousting the Republican government... Philadelphia is a village located in Jefferson County, New York. ... Woodstock is a town located in Ulster County, New York, USA. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 6,241. ... Official language(s) None, English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 27th 141,205 km² 455 km 530 km 13. ... James Cooney was born in Ireland, July 28, 1848, died November 16, 1904. ... Henry Miller photo taken by Carl Van Vechten, 1940 Henry Valentine Miller (December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980) was an American writer and, to a lesser extent, painter of German Catholic heritage. ... Ana s Nin (February 21, 1903 - January 14, 1977) was a French author who became famous for her self-published diaries, which span a period of forty years, beginning when she was twelve years old. ...


Duncan and Homosexuality

In Philadelphia, Duncan had a relationship with a male instructor he had first met in Berkeley. In 1941 he was drafted and declared his homosexuality to get discharged. In 1943, he had his first heterosexual relationship. This ended in a short, disastrous marriage. In 1944, he published The Homosexual in Society, an essay in which he compared the plight of homosexuals with that of African Americans and Jews. From 1951 until his death, he lived with the artist Jess Collins. Before then, he had a relationship with Robert De Niro Sr, the father of famed actor Robert De Niro Jr. For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1941 calendar). ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) is a common year starting on Friday. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1944 calendar). ... 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... Jess Collins (August 6, 1923 in Long Beach, California - January 2, 2004 in San Francisco, California), known professionally by the single name Jess, was an American visual artist. ... Robert De Niro at the Berlin International Film Festival, 1998 Robert De Niro, Jr. ...

San Francisco

Duncan returned to San Francisco in 1945 and was befriended by Kenneth Rexroth, with whom he had been in correspondence for some time. He returned to Berkeley to study Medieval and Renaissance literature and cultivated a reputation as a shamanistic figure in San Francisco poetry and artistic circles. He also became friends with fellow poets Jack Spicer and Robin Blaser. In the early 1950s he started publishing in Cid Corman's Origin and the Black Mountain Review and in 1956 he spent a time teaching at the Black Mountain College. These connections were instrumental in getting some of the Black Mountain poets involved in the San Francisco Renaissance. 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... Kenneth Rexroth (December 22, 1905 – June 6, 1982) was an American poet, translator and critical essayist. ... Medieval literature is a broad subject, encompassing essentially all written works available in Europe and beyond during the Middle Ages (encompassing the one thousand years from the fall of the Western Roman Empire ca. ... Renaissance literature is European literature, after the Dark Ages over an extended period, usually considered to be initiated by Petrarch at the beginning of the Italian Renaissance, and sometimes taken to continue to the English Renaissance, including Shakespeare and into the seventeenth century. ... This page is about the poet. ... Robin Blaser (born 18 May 1925) is a noted author and poet in both the United States and Canada. ... Cid Corman (1924 - March 12, 2004) was an American poet, translator and editor who was a key figure in the history of American poetry in the second half of the 20th century. ... 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is in need of attention. ... The Black Mountain poets, sometimes called the Projectivist poets, were a group of mid 20th century American avant-garde or postmodern poets centered around Black Mountain College. ...

Mature Works

During the 1960s, Duncan achieved considerable artistic and critical success with three books; The Opening of the Field (1960), Roots and Branches (1964), and Bending the Bow (1968). These are generally considered to be his most significant works. After Bending the Bow, he vowed to avoid the distraction of publication for fifteen years. Duncan's friend and fellow poet, Michael Palmer, writes about this time in his essay "Ground Work: On Robert Duncan" : 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1960 calendar). ... For the Nintendo 64 emulator, see 1964 (Emulator). ... 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1968 calendar). ... Michael Palmer, American poet(b. ...

  • "The story is well-known in poetry circles: around 1968, disgusted by his difficulties with publishers and by what he perceived as the careerist strategies of many poets, Duncan vowed not to publish a new collection for fifteen years. (There would be chapbooks along the way.) He felt that this decision would free him to listen to the demands of his (supremely demanding) poetics and would liberate the architecture of his work from all compromised considerations. ...It was not until 1984 that Ground Work I: Before the War appeared, to be followed in February 1988, the month of his death, by Ground Work II: In the Dark." [1]

Primary Works

  • Selected Poems (City Lights Pocket Series, 1959)
  • The Opening of the Field (Grove Press, 1960/New Directions) PS3507.U629 O6
  • Roots and Branches (Scribner's, 1964/New Directions)
  • Medea at Kolchis; the maiden head. Berkeley: Oyez, 1965. PS3507.U629 M4
  • Of the war: passages 22-27. Berkeley: Oyez, 1966. PS3507.U629 O42
  • Bending the Bow (New Directions, 1968),
  • Play time, pseudo stein. S.n. Tenth Muse, 1969. Case / PS3507 .U629 P55
  • Caesar's gate: poems 1949-50. with paste-ups by Jess. s.l. Sand Dollar, 1972. PS3507.U629 C3
  • Selected poems by Robert Duncan. San Francisco, City Lights Books. Millwood, NY: Kraus Reprint Co., 1973, 1959. PN6101 .P462 v.2 no.8-14,Suppl.
  • An ode and Arcadia. Berkeley: Ark P, 1974. PS3507.U629 O3
  • Medieval scenes 1950 and 1959. Kent, Ohio: The Kent SU Libraries, 1978. Case / PS3507.U629 M43
  • The five songs. Glendale, CA: Reagh, 1981. Case / PS3507 .U629 F5
  • Fictive Certainties (Essays) (New Directions, 1983)
  • Ground Work: Before the War (New Directions, 1984) NY: New Directions Pub. Corp., 1984. PS3507 .U629 G7
  • Groundwork II: In the Dark (New Directions, 1987) PS3507 .U629 G69
  • Selected Poems edited by Robert Bertholf (New Directions, 1993)
  • A Selected Prose (New Directions, 1995)
  • Groundwork: Before the War / In the Dark, Introduction by Michael Palmer (New Directions, 2006)

To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Michael Palmer, American poet(b. ...

External links

  • The Robert Duncan Page
  • Duncan at Modern American Poetry
  • Robert Duncan Poems and Directory
  • "Ground Work: On Robert Duncan" Michael Palmer's "Introduction" to a combined edition of Ground Work: Before the War, and Ground Work II: In the Dark, published by New Directions in April 2006.
  • from THE AMBASSADOR FROM VENUS an exerpt of the Duncan biography by Lisa Jarnot



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