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Poet in Place and Time

Critical Essays on Joanne Kyger

Edited by Mary Paniccia Carden and Jane Falk

Poet in Place and Time: Critical Essays on Joanne Kyger provides a much-needed re-evaluation of the work of Joanne Kyger, a remarkably productive poet associated with transformative literary movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Kyger uses time and place to anchor her writing in the present moment (as reflected in the title of her collected poems, About Now), and this collection employs a similar approach to present Kyger to readers who may be less familiar with her work. The essays take readers from her stay in Japan in the 1960s to her return to California and her life in Bolinas from the 1970s on, as well as her travels to places such as Desecheo Island and Mexico. The essays explore Kyger’s poetics through close readings of her poems and journals, as well as through her approach to issues which concerned her throughout her life; these issues include ecology, reinhabitation, the politics of NAFTA, and the War on Terror. Contributors also investigate her relation to feminism, Buddhism, and ecopoetics. Kyger’s connections to various movements in American literature are also emphasized, as well as ways in which she is part of but extends and improvises on the Beat Movement.

1. Introduction: Joanne Kyger, A Poet in Place and Time | Jane Falk and Mary Paniccia Carden
2. Artists of a Floating World: Joanne Kyger, Gary Snyder, and Allen Ginsberg’s Rainy Day Sea of Japan | Mark Gonnerman
3. Real and Mythopoetic Geographies: Reading Joanne Kyger’s “fragmented. ie several valleys.” in Kyoto | Linda Russo
4. Mythic Space and Joanne Kyger’s Poetics of Integration | Mary Paniccia Carden
5. “It wasn’t going to go anywhere”: Joanne Kyger’s Poetics of the Ordinary | Sara Laws
6. Joanne Kyger’s Desecheo Notebook and the Beat Veneration | Amy L. Friedman
7. “See the truly enlightened other”: Kyger, Buddhism, and Drugs | Timothy Gray
8. Again as Ecodharma: The Generosity of Joanne Kyger’s Ecopoetics | Jonathan Skinner
9. “these words about words/beyond words”: Reading Joanne Kyger’s “For the Pittosporum Tenuifolium Outside the Studio Window” | Stephen Ratcliffe
10. Joanne Kyger at Naropa University | Andrew Schelling
11. Poet in Time of Crisis: The Political Joanne Kyger | Jane Falk
12. Alice Notley on Joanne Kyger: “Utterly Herself” | An Interview by Jane Falk
13. Afterword. Joanne Kyger: Then and Now | John Whalen-Bridge

About the Editors

Mary Paniccia Carden is Professor of English and Dean of the College of Education, Arts, and Humanities at PennWest University. She is the author of Women Writers of the Beat Era: Autobiography and Intertextuality (University of Virginia Press, 2018), which explores the autobiographical practices of Beat-associated women. She published a previous article on Joanne Kyger, as well as work on Joyce Johnson, Diane di Prima, Jack Kerouac, and Neal Cassady. Other publications include essays on Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, Louise Erdrich, Willa Cather, and Jane Smiley. Her research interests include women’s autobiography and poetry of the #MMIW movement.

Jane Falk, retired Senior Lecturer from the Department of English, University of Akron, has written essays on the work of a number of members of the Beat Generation, most notably Joanne Kyger, Philip Whalen, and Michael McClure, as well as on Beat writing practices and Beats and film. Her dissertation, The Beat Avant-Garde, the 1950’s, and the Popularizing of Zen Buddhism in the United States (2002), Ohio State University, grew out of a class on Zen and the Beats Falk took with Kyger at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. In addition to taking classes with Kyger, Falk had the opportunity to interview her several times.

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Pages: 250 pages

Published: May 2024


ISBN: 978-1-63804-101-6

ISBN: 978-1-63804-102-3




Beat Studies Series