Altpoetics is another blog I am starting dedicated to writing about writing and writers.  I’m looking for manifestos, mission statements, poetic responses, rewrites and musings about the act of translating.  Essentially, I’m looking for writing aimed towards to the after-garde/post-avant-garde, experimental/innovative and slipstream poetry.

Submissions can be sent to

This is one example of what I am looking for:

A Response to Charles Olson

by E.S. McCormick

I, Saladin, To Nobody in Particular

Wandering idle down Styx lanes

Periwinkle, Crimson, safflower

hues assault windshield unrestrain’

battlement’s arrows shower.

Shall I sit upon the shore fishing?

With the sea stretching out from my feet.

Or speak of undone business?

Of breath

of ears

of syllable, syllabus, syllabic

Oh Glowster Man

(that is how the ears hear it)

My spatial nature geometry is lost now

buried beneath billboard

advertising gleaming teeth

and all manner of elixir

and what watches

and what wears

I want to fit

I want to shine brighter than the fifty stars that glint atop Metropolis

I want that piece

I want that peace

I held that gun at them

for the confusers for the Brooks Brothers cloistered minions

I held that gun

watching as we lay siege at Ma’arra.

How they feasted

Across winter windshield

giants stand gleaming teeth on black ribbon roadsides

 Fear Not Citizen!

            get the yellow out 

                             drink this

                                         tune in tonight at nine)


Go Icharus

fly  where you can never reach

fly and I will follow

My ship’s mast melts with wings

to cause quarrel over the loss of golden armor.

There are riches enough to be satisfied in Troy

In Troy

where Dear Fathers, Fearless Leaders, Benevolent Uncles

Bearded Revolutionaries smile down on us all



for the chance to purge

O Commerce O Commerce

I repent

My teeth dream of the day they can gleam

sublime ego sentence strands removed from shores

blown to glass

situated in teethly tower rows

erect Testaments to our fathers named

Sears, Comcast, Chrysler, Key and Bank of America I and II

O Commerce O Commerce

I repent I am Redeemed for five cents

Do not discard me in your Gulag Archipelago

I am not so poor, you will make no great profit

Do not discard me in a home of wayward Roman D.J.s

In twelve plus twelve I would never produce a cantos

Oh Glowster Man

Do you hear me?

Was this percussive?


I want to wander through brilliant stacks of cans

I want to act after taken thought

I want to fight no more forever

Oh Glowster Man

Do you hear me?


has been replaced by yet another glowing blue screen that can paint the windows of Suburbia

The keys still clack

but even as we speak they are being replaced…

                                                               By what says you?

         by shiny glass and aluminumy tablets says I

                                                                Like His word says you?

    better says I

       they gleam of billboard staring toothuses


Charles Olson’s poetry and essay, “Projective/ Verse” are the antithesis of the New Critic School of writing. Although Olson is scholarly and fills his stanzas with learned quotes and references, he departs in every other way from the New Critics. Embracing all the features of modern printing Olson breaks his verse up according to how it should be spoken or into ‘breaths as he calls them. His open verse or Composition by Field is formed free of iambic meter. Instead Olson prefers to concentrate on the kinetic nature of the poem, Olson also carefully points out that all metaphor, objects, or anything else that would interrupt this kinetic flow must be omitted.


6 thoughts on “Altpoetics

  1. That’s fabulous work isn’t it? Wonderful language and meaning constructions and so well crafted. It seems to me to be a neo modernist poetic style for the 21st century; might we call it Post Millennial Neo Modernism? A poetic style which brings such classical allusions and such Romantic power together with the tawdry and plastic post 21st century human experience. I’ll be back for more. Heading over to Altpoetics too…

    • I’m looking for post-avant-garde/after-garde work some of which may feel like neo-modernism or neo-imagist but the next wave of innovation will come in many forms from many different starting points. Also, I never like to attach a movement with an era/timeframe i.e. modernism or futurism. I prefer names like imagist, impressionism, symbolism, surrealism etc.

  2. There is certainly a return to movement that speaks more about the experience of time than how it should be described; after all, history did not end as expected, so it all flows back and forth again. I love Olsen and the Black Mountain poets. Great to read out loud.

    • Robert Duncan. I think that’s all that’s needs to be said about Black Mountain. As for reading out loud, I tend to fall more in the Robert Grenier camp.

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