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

dear Larry,

                              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.


No complaint.

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 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.

                                            Best Always







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

are doing.






No  -  Leonardo  -

you don't compete with nature  -

you are this nature.






Life is poetry

& poetry is life  -  O  -

awaken children!












Letters 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.





When they have to ask

you and you find you can't i-

dentify yourself.





makes a

lot of

sense - like
nonsense -

like this.


We were - you
are. But then
as now - hard
to tell the





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

the entertainment.




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.





That's it—that's

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


Web site to please help Shizumi Corman, Cid Corman's wife, in this difficult time


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