Maine, Hunting, Kaprow

* * * Back from poetry reading & talks at the University of Maine, Orono. What a treat! Steve Evans & Jennifer Moxley were magnificent hosts, great talk from poetry to translation, from punk & jazz. Great food and excellent company after the reading. First visit to the hallowed halls, well, largish office, of the National Poetry Foundation with Burton Hatlen, as strangely enough I had never come up to any of the Orono conferences & poetry events — probably because they always seem to happen at a time when I’m in Europe.
An afternoon spent continuing a discussion on Celan and related matters with Ben Friedlander as if we had broken it off only the previous afternoon — though it had been 5 or 6 years that I hadn’t seen or been in touch with Ben. Sitting in the University Inn, bitching about the totally erratic Wifi connection that makes even reading email (not to speak of trying to do the blog) a pain in the neck, reflecting on old friends now gone who had come through here often — especially Ginsberg & Creeley. Waking up to total snow landscape on thursday morning, then watch the snow recede à vue d’oeil & reveal old green grass, as if a white sheet is slowly but irresistably pulled back from a pool table revealing the green baize.

The sad news was that local poet Constance Hunting passed away on 5 April, at eighty. Here is some info on her, from the Maine Writers website:

Constance Hunting was born in Providence, RI, and lived in Orono from 1968 until her death. She was a classical pianist, a poet and a promoter of other Maine writers, informally and through her Puckerbrush Review literary magazine (established 1978) and Puckerbrush Press publishing company (est. 1971). She also taught English literature and creative writing at the University of Maine (Orono) and was a member of the National Poetry Foundation board. She received her B.A. from Brown University in 1947, was at Duke University from 1950-53, and then Purdue University from 1953-68. Her husband, Robert, was chair of the English department at the Univ. of Maine for eight years before his death. There’s more about her in a UMaine Today Nov-Dec. 2001 profile. Her death notice is available online.

Hunting edited two books about May Sarton, May Sarton, Woman and Poet (1982) and A Celebration for May Sarton: Essays and Speeches from the National Conference “May Sarton at 80” (1994). She also co-edited (with Lee Skarkey) two books of Maine writing, New Maine Writing (1977) and New Maine Writing: Number Two (1979); co-edited (with Virgil Bisset) In a Dark Time: An Anthology of Poetry of Nuclear Concern (1983); and in 1997 came out with The Experience of Art: Selected Essays and Interviews, which has articles on Virginia Chase Perkins and Philip Booth.

Hunting’s own books and chapbooks of poetry are as follows: After the Stravinsky Concert and Other Poems (1969), Cimmerian and Other Poems (1972), Beyond the Summerhouse: A Narrative Poem (1976), Nightwalk and Other Poems (1980), Dream Cities (1982), Collected Poems, 1969-1982 (1983), A Day at the Shore: A Poem (1983), Between the Worlds: Poems 1983-1988 (1989), Hawkedon (1990), The Myth of Horizon (1991), At Rochebonne: A Poem (1994), The Shape of Memory (1998), Natural Things: Collected Poems 1969-1998 (1999), An Amazement (2002), and The Sky Flower (2005).

At my reading on the 6, I started by offering a short poem of hers, one often requested and expected by audience members ar her own readings. Here it is:


The man astonished all of Paris
with an apple
but his wife
liked only Switzerland and lemonade.

* * *

As we are at the obit moment, let me remember someone I knew some & liked a lot, as we were neighbors with him, his wife Coryl and son Bram when we lived in Encinitas, CA who also died this past week: Allan Kaprow (1927-2006). The note below was forwarded by Jerome Rothenberg:

The following brief notice – from David Antin and the family of Allan Kaprow – announces the death of our longtime friend and neighbor:

“Today Allan Kaprow, Master of the Happening, the radical artist whose work transformed the nature of art making forever, died peacefully in his home in Encinitas, California. Beginning as a painter, his work from the late fifties and early sixties, his spectacular and theatrical environments and performance pieces, overran the capacities of galleries and museums, as his increasingly austere psychological and spiritual pieces from the seventies on managed to elude all but the eager audiences who increasingly became participants and collaborators in the work. He leaves behind his wife Coryl and son Bram, and Anton, Amy and Marisa, his children with his former wife Vaughan Rachel.”

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2 Responses

  1. streft says:

    “spatial representations of a multileveled attitude to painting.”
    Kaprow tred upon perhaps the ether
    suggested by Rothko. He will be greatly missed.

  2. Sam Hunting says:

    Thanks for this post, and especially for quoting the short poem (which is not about sheep, as the short poem that everyone quotes is).

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