Cid Corman: Final Poems
I received this final letter from Cid Corman just a short time before hearing of his illness. What follows are the poems included with the letter, followed by the few poems of Cid's I published in milk over the last few years, and a list of links about Cid's life and work. Please be sure to check the last link on the page to stay aware of how to help Shizumi, Cid's wife, in this difficult time. Cid Corman was an amazingly prolific poet and publisher who offered advice and a kind word freely and often. He will be sorely missed.
—Larry Sawyer, March 13, 2004
20th December 2003
thank you for your kind words and
sharing your Corso poem with me. (Wish you could
cut out the rhetoric of all the of phrases - none
of it needed to say what you have to say.)
Just an opinion - not a rule.
We survive somehow.
Both Shizumi and I work fulltime without any
income - no pensions. Poverty has been my life
and that is poetry for me.
I still try to avoid publicity.
We were fortunately invited in October for a
week to Wisconsin to help celebrate Lorine Niedecker,
the best woman poet since Emily anywhere and one
of the handful of great American poets. Great to
be there with dear poet friends like Ted Enslin
and Bob Arnold and others.
I share yr sense of the DC Bu..sh-it. But that's
where it's at there and I expect him to win
another close election next year. Hillary after
Writing still a book of poems every day in effect.
Tomorrow it will be 62 years since I began, also
on a Sunday, and I've been at it every day since.
Vacation is not a word in my vocabulary.
Let me enclose a few brief poems you may use in
MILK, if you care to.
Not a hell of a
lot we can do about this
but we all hail hell.
You are here
to die and
that's what you
No - Leonardo -
you don't compete with nature -
you are this nature.
Life is poetry
& poetry is life - O -
I FINDLetters don't do it - talking clears the air and brings out half a laugh here and there. A glance and a certain tone...all. One person facing another.***Goya saw it alright - the God as a titan and a big mouth taking us all in. As if we had lost all our memories and were remembering this.***COMPETENCY When they have to ask you and you find you can't i- dentify yourself.***Sometimes nothing makes a lot of sense - like nonsense - like this.*We were - you are. But then as now - hard to tell the difference.*usw. It seems likely to go on for some while yet but that's weather for you.*How could we have known it would all turn out this way? And what if we had?
Is this that funny?
But what is this or that—man—
compared to nothing?
Baby—we've all jumped
from the pot into the fire.
Ain't we something else?
Before there was a
future all seemed promising—
but now knows better.
Who are we to die?
Who are we to live?
There is no end and
there is no beginning—there's
only always this.
I leave my
life with you
Make of it
what you can.
This retreat of mine
a little old mosquito
Something to be said
or why would I be here or
for that matter you?
What could be clearer—
a completely blue sky as
empty as empty is.
this and this
you must ad-
mit is you.
Cid Corman (1924-2004):
Born in 1924 in Boston. In 1954 Corman left America for the first time and subsequently lived mostly in Europe and in Kyoto, Japan. Author of many books, his most recent is Nothing/Doing (New Directions, 2000). Editor and publisher of Origin press, which published the work of Paul Blackburn, William Bronk, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Larry Eigner, Theodore Enslin, Achilles Fang, Kusano Shimpei, Denise Levertov, Lorine Niedecker, Charles Olson, Francis Ponge, Gary Snyder, Rocco Scotellaro, Cesar Vallejo, Philip Whalen, William Carlos Williams, and Louis Zukofsky among many others. Cid Corman said, "If this is divinity, make the most of it."
Cid Corman on poetry over the radio, October 1952
Titles by Cid Corman available through Longhouse press
Wikipedia link to biography of Cid Corman
Cid Corman's poems at The American Poetry Review site
Six of Cid Corman's poems at Oyster Boy Review
Piece on Cid Corman at Flashpoint
Poems of Cid Corman's at The East Village Poetry Web
The Poetry of Cid Corman by Lorine Niedecker at the Electronic Poetry Center
Taylor Mignon speaks with Cid Corman at Paco's Global Village
Review of Cid Corman's Nothing/Doing (New Directions, 2000) at Oyster Boy Review
Order Cid Corman's books at Amazon.com
Web site to please help Shizumi Corman, Cid Corman's wife, in this difficult time