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Wednesday, September 6, 2023


287. Valley of the Many-Colored Grasses. Ronald Johnson (1969, 2023) 

Reading Levertov and Hollo, and now Johnson, I am struck by how white poets of this period could use American Indian culture quite unselfconsciously--something I would not do myself now, for example. Anyway, this is RJ just before he embarked upon ARK. Some very good things here, including the letters to Whitman. The back cover calls it "an underground classic of visionary and queer poetics." But you wouldn't know Johnson is gay until the letters for WW, the next to the last poem in the book. Mostly, he is a great naturalist, immersed in plants and the earth itself. 

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