Monday, December 28, 2015


P H I L I P     W H A L E N

You will want the Philip Whalen biography. 
It is a gnarly book in that it goes round and round in interesting ways, 
often through friendships, quite unusual in this day and age of publishing. 
First Ginsberg, then Kerouac, and then taking off like a rocket
with Snyder
and leveling off mysteriously & sweetly with Kyger, 
while sharing birthdays with McClure (and Rimbaud!)
and all the friends, each and every one
claim they never saw Philip with 
a love interest. 
The gods could have told them that.
 Look at the full Collected Poems if you want to see his love interest. 
Long before a Buddhist,
Whalen, like Kerouac, were human beings. 
They didn’t actually waste their time on the Buddhist stuff, 
they just never needed it in the first place.
So the book reads less as a biography and more like an autobiography— 
Philip’s — the one he didn’t write. 
He wrote love poems. 
He wrote On Bear’s Head
The book that must be in every poetry library if one wishes to claim it is a poetry library. 

[ BA ]

Counterpoint, 2015


jadecar said...

Hey Bob,

Dug yr comments on David Schneider's Whalen bio.
I too enjoyed reading it. In my case along with
Phil's Collected, tho the bio ended long before
I finished reading through the full Collected.

And then I had to return the Collected too
as there were no renewals available from the
library from whence it came and so surreptitiously
placed a bookmark pg. 519 ( Earth ) for when I re-borrow
it via inter-library loan system and can pick up
where I left off...

And yeah, Bear's Head. I'll have to get my copy
out now from my own stacks to tie me ovah,
but almost don't dare read it as it's the paperback
edition and it's gettin' old and fragile.

Talk about cornerstones.
No, let's talk abt foundations, Bob.

And who was it..Berrigan?
0r somebody sd: " Philip Whalen,
Copy everything he does."

All best,

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

There you are, John.

Yes, I believe it was Ted Berrigan.

Speaking of cornerstones/foundations — the day before this four inches of sand (snow) stuck to our good earth I did get in corner posts for a structure that will go up here in the spring. Unless I get itchy and the winter goes easy, so I may start raising roof beams soon. The reason for pushing ahead on the foundation now is for the very long winters that take forever in the spring for the ground to soften and posts to go back in. Hard to believe, but lovely for a change, there was no frost in the ground as of Dec 28th. There is today.

Take down that On Bear's Head, again, it's indestructible.

all's well, Bob