A young man's love poem to poetry. Bob Holman in 1971, at age 21, creates this "Life Poem" and places it for consideration for the "United States Award." He says of it, "So here it is and I'm going to miss it. Hope you have as much fun reading it as I did in the writing partl"
Half a century ago, in his twentieth year on this planet, Bob Holman set about to write a spontaneous book directly from his life. The result, a near-200-page poem, Life Poem, does not remind me of any book that I've read. Instead it makes me think of Picasso's painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, when the young painter, with an intuitive leap of intellect, painted a face, unrelated to the other Demoiselles, of an African mask upon one of them. So, zut! now I think of Holman as a Picasso-type artist. . . .To write a book-length at the age of twenty on no subject except himself has the chutzpah and the energy that we expect from Picasso. And there is always a war beneath the outer surface. In Life Poem, it is Vietnam. Picasso and/or Holman or Holman and/or Picasso, best fits my understanding of this book by the 20-year old poet. It is no ordinary book but a treasure, spontaneous from the heart. Treasure it!! Holman and the Demoiselles of Avignon. The Demoiselles and Bob Holman. Treasure it!! --Michael McClure
Bob Holman reaches into the past to come up with a poem completely current and simultaneously eternal in its political and social implications. The year was 1969, and seemingly, little has changed. We've just gotten older. Despite the dire state of the country/world/universe, something deeper is happening, and ultimately - as Jack Kerouac said Charlie Parker's music said - all is well. --Vincent Katz
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