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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Aram Saroyan: night


File:Zurich2007 img 5217.jpg

Graffiti, Zurich: photo by Gürken Sengün, 2007

night/again/again: Aram Saroyan, from ARAM SAROYAN, 1968


Ed Baker said...

I don't know much of Aram Saroyan's "stuff" but am an huge fan of (I guess it's) his dad's writings.

the "night/again/again" in a box piece looks like he used my Underwood 5 with the elite type-font!

as for the i know where i'm going movie...

saw it about in 1957 on my 12 inch philco b/w ..

the model in the metal case

TC said...


Aram was a half century or so ahead of his time. We're still catching up. With his mimimal poems, the zero-to-five seconds average blog visit would allow time for at least one replay, with a reflective pause.

We were hanging out sometimes, and I caught the side-stream of an attitude of open-minded awe and wonder... which I recall as the context and backdrop of these remarkable small and slightly whacked-out meditative masterpieces. One of the (few) truly "original" geniuses of our/my "time".

Yes, William Saroyan was his pop. I too loved the father's work, from about 1951 on.

Two years before that we got our first tiny Hallicrafters seven-inch with the round screen. Funny the odd cropping didn't seem strange, then. But of course the whole concept of the picture in the box seemed strange enough in itself.

That sort of uniqueness and strangeness was as I recall also my first impression of Aram's minimalist poems.

(There is of course a history, nothing simply drops from the moon. Aram had closely studied Creeley and Zukofsky, to name just two direct antecedents. What he brought to the game, though, was the odd oblique angle, in the moment... capturing the weird zeitgeist of that time, for me, better than almost anybody.)

Anonymous said...

I love this and have enjoyed Aram Saroyan's poetry since I first saw it and read it a long time ago. I vividly recall the way it visually stood out and apart in the anthology I was reading. Obviously, it was unique, nothing remotely like it, and when it sank in it stayed. This was an uplifting way to begin the day.

Ed Baker said...

"the odd oblique angle, in the moment... capturing"

I REALLY like that!

so much mathematics and mythamatics simultaneously

GAWD! My en:tire Manum Opuses
reduced to a

I was in a couple of magazines "with" him
in late 60's mid 70's

Cold Spring Journal

yeah. CSJ Number 10 1974
where Aram Saroyan interviews Rod Mckuen

and seems to me we met or at least I was in the same club/place/city at the same time as hewe were at a 'happening' as such they were in east manhattan ...a Village

of sorts but I was sitting wayyyyy over there..
with my Main Muse


and if you are yet 'with me'

next to Ron Silliman's
"Katsup" (which is unread as of yet)
is "Aram Saroyan Complete Minimal Poems"

which is also as yet
though I

just flipped through see several pieces that I've seen before...

I like the what I call "shorties" he calls Short Poems:

"The scissors was on the newspaper where who would ever see it." (a single line poem straight as an arrow hit the mark!)

is he yet around?

I would "drop in on him un-announced with a sending to of my 1970
recently found in a trunk and done up nicely by Travis and JenMarie

which is another one of my run-away-worst-sellers
and fact-simile has sole just enough copies to pay for their staples!

Ed Baker said...

"Aram was a half century or so ahead of his time (...)."

two more connects here for me...

sometime about 1975 or so Cid wrote in a letter (something like):

"Ed, your 50 years ahead of the times
and you'll be read 30 years after you're dead ... if at all."

and you write "Aram was ..."
he dead?!

I'll go to wkipeediea and see...

TC said...

Ed, Curtis,

What better way to start the day than a great round-table conference. On virtual oak.

Every day a "happening..." in these august offices.

TC said...


I don't know whether it's an insult or an honour to be thought dead... in any case, I get that all the time.

(Most recently, I'm told, in a new book about Charlie Finley, the showman/conman who once owned the Oakland A's, it is reported that I could not be reached for permission to quote from my book about the A's, because, alas, I have passed away. So I went to the book's website, where comments are solicited, and left a comment saying, ahem, I am not dead. But two weeks later, the comment is still awaiting moderation. So...)

Aram however is totally, undeniably and very much alive and in the swing of things and instructing fortunate young writers in one of the great private universities of America (yet).

Ed Baker said...

I jus googled AS
he got a web-site and seems to be a teacher at Southern Cal (a nice place to visit
I wouldn't want to live/die there

at bottom of each page
of his web-site
his email address

after i read Ron's Catsup book I may just....

he could email me and
we could have a meaningless conversation


we could take a nap

as for this that you say:

"don't know whether it's an insult or an honour to be thought dead"

I would offer:

It's an advantage to be ignored.

as being acknowledged re-quires joining a group or worse multiple groups

AND maintain''g adequate/up-to-date Credentials!


Tom (,

Thanks for all this --


and thoughts on Aram and his great work -- maybe we will get some more of them (don't take up much room or time, in this busy world we find ourselves in. . . . .


first light in clouds against invisible
top of ridge, black of leaves on branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

in it is which will be, hold
here close to conceal

thinking of what it takes to
keep, given, surfaces

grey-white clouds against top of ridge,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

ACravan said...

"Awaiting Moderation". I guess that's the contemporary measure of temporality and relevance. I've faced this even in situations where my comments were solicited and I've complied by posting responses. It makes me feel so.....moderated. In an optimistic spirit, I say we should be grateful for new catchphrases. Tonight a lovely young girl from the UK (Cambridge) arrived in our house for a 10-day visit. I'm a crank and occasionally become frustrated at my daughter Jane's use of slang. A big current adjective is "random". Our Cambridge girl is lovely, but "random" is afoot -- continually, big-time and hardly randomly -- in our house. Glad you're not dead.

TC said...

As one recalls, Hesiod, Solon, Aristotle, Socrates, Thales, Terence, Plautus, Solon, Buddha, Jesus, St. Paul, Mom, Dad, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, W.G. Kingston (author of Swiss Family Robinson) and the editor-in-chief of Wine Spectator all agree on at least one thing: that Moderation in all things is the best course.

Buddha and Martin Luther, furthermore, agree on at least one thing: Nothing is random.

Let there be concord among the peoples.