The authors who became regulars for Bob's press, Longhouse, mostly wrote lyric and narrative poetry. They ranged from the frankly wild, like Irving Stettner, to a straong selection of the distaff side of the Beats (Janine Pommy Vega, Anne Waldman, Joanne Kyger), to Vermont's storytelling poets like Hayden Carruth and David Budbill. Bob has published a lot of work by Ted Enslin, a Maine poet who merits far more attention than he's had so far. And perhaps most memorably, Longhouse is the home of Cid Corman's poetry: printing, publishing, supporting, and inextricably woven into the fabric of Cid's life, whether in the U.S. or in Kyoto. As a direct extension of this resonance, Bob also vigorously promoted the work of Lorine Niedecker, a modest Wisconsin poet whose death in 1970 cost us all dearly. Niedecker's spare, incisive writing meshed well with Corman's urge to spend fewer and fewer words, with targeted energy. Bob thus nurtured the printed careers of both of them.
Bob announced this past week that the Longhouse Bibliography from 1971-2006 is now online, complete with his very personal annotations (brief but poignant) and color images of many of the covers. He invites viewers to:
Begin with the Longhouse Bibliography Part One 1971 - 1989
And continue with Longhouse Bibliography Part Two 1990 - 2006
I note here that Bob's wife Sue is inevitably part of his efforts; she joined him in 1974 and the two form an intimate Vermont partnership, with weather, wood, press, and poem. To celebrate their 35 years, in addition to savoring the bibliography, you'll probably want to pick up some of the small-press-run work that they mention, before it's gone. I do. The web home is http://www.LonghousePoetry.com
And here's a taste of Bob's own poetry, from his 1990 collection WHERE RIVERS MEET (Mad River Press):
Just before supper
I watched a storm draw in
The trees toss
I have finished carrying
Elm from the edge of the woods
Bucked, split then stacked
I am done
Oh yes, I mentioned a perfect-bound volume issued in 2006: That's Bob's new SUNSWUMTHRU A BUILDING, a prose sequence of tender meditations on tools, building, and fathering. Although issued through Longhouse, the book bears the Origin Press imprint, which Cid Corman originated and Bob is carrying onward, with help from Charles Sandy. But that's another story and I'll save it for another day.