Saturday, April 20, 2013

Raymond Carver and Charles Bukowski Meet in the Desert in 1962

Targets no. 11. Sandia, New Mexico, 1962

This issue of the fugitive and important western little mag is notable for featuring the first poem published by the young Raymond Carver, 'Brass Ring'. Carver was notified of the acceptance of the poem on the same day that he received notice of the publication of his regularly first published story, 'Pastoral' in the Western Humanities Review. [Sklenicka p. 84]. Maryann Carver, Raymond's first wife, would later say of that day "We were on top of the world. It seemed that if you did the right things, the right things would happen. . . We were ecstatic and partied for three days." [Halpert p. 62]

 This issue of Targets also features the Charles Bukowski poem  "Our Breath's Fondness Burns Like Gruel in Beggary". 

In his Summer 1983 interview with Mona Simpson and Lewis Buzbee in the Paris Review, Carver said of this publication that "Charles Bukowski had a poem in the same issue, and I was pleased to be in the same magazine with him. He was a kind of hero to me then." 

It's fascinating to see them under the same covers in the same magazine this early, because Carver and Bukowski would take different paths in their literary careers. While Bukowski would repeatedly celebrate his outsider status and publish mainly for little mags and small presses, Carver would struggle to put himself through school at Chico State and would go on to spend considerable time as a teacher and lecturer. Carver's early work did appear in the small press scene, notably his excellent second book, Winter Insomnia, which was published by George Hitchcock at the legendary Kayak Press. Beginning in the mid 70's, though, the bulk of Carver's work would be published by large, mainstream presses. 

Carver would eventually meet his hero a decade later, when he invited him to give a reading at UCSC in 1972. The reading and the following party turned into a drunken shamble, documented on pages 208-9 in Sklenicka, which quotes Mort Marcus' account of the party. - "Bukowski, drinking everything in sight, muttered, bragged, cursed, and, getting drunker by the minute, grabbed the girls and mashed his whiskery ace against theirs, or shot his hand to the crotch of their jeans or down their blouses. . . girls screamed and ran from the house. . . more cerebral students sat back and stared straing ahead, probably stoned. . . Ray started drinking."

 Out of that evening would come the considerably more nuanced view of Bukowski in the Carver poem "You Don't Know What Love Is (An Evening With Charles Bukowski) in which he incorporates many lines that Bukowski spoke at the party into his own poem, including phrases derisive of the college literary scene. Critics differ on whether the poem is a tribute or a satire. It's likely a bit of both, and one of the more fascinating poems I've ever read dealing with the struggle of influence. 

 Garner, W. L., ed. Targets 11. Sandia Park, N. M. : Targets, 1962. First edition. 8vo, 39 [1] pp., offset printed; saddle-stapled in card wraps. Some toning to wraps, with a 1" crease to upper rear tip.  SOLD.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Alexandre Grothendieck and Survivre et Vivre

Survivre et Vivre

Survivre et Vivre was a radical environmentalist magazine which was issued c. 1970-73, and published by the group of the same name, formed by the eccentric genius and founder of modern algebraic theory -  the mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck, certainly one of the most fascinating figures in modern science. At least 19 issues were published. I've been on the lookout for this magazine for several years, and have only been able to track down numbers 11-19. OCLC locates holdings only at the BIBLIOTHEEK UNIVERSITEIT Van Amsterdam and the Bibliotheque Internationale. 

Grothendieck was born in Berlin, the son of anarchist parents. He was opposed to the war in Vietnam, and is famed for having lectured in the forest surrounding Hanoi as it was being bombed. In 1970 Grothendieck left the world of institutional mathematics over a dispute over military funding of the institution he taught at, the IHES. At this time he formed Survivre et Vivre. 

Grothendieck is rumored to now be living in isolation, perhaps in the Pyrenees. During this time a number of manuscripts he is purported to have written have emerged in limited circulation, some on apocalyptic or milennarian themes. In 2010 he is reported to have declared that all of his works published since he left academia were published without his permission, and requested that duplication of his work cease, and that libraries containing his later works should remove them.  

The graphics of Survivre et Vivre seem to betray an influence from Situationism, featuring satirical underground comics, collages, and detourneed comic strips and advertisements. In these issues I find work by Grothendieck, Jean-Marie Damais, Francois Maille, Didier Savard, Denis Guedj, D. Meuret, Robert Jaulin, and Louis Dewez. I can't find any writings on the magazine in any language, and in a way this post is something of a cry for help - I'm looking for anybody who might know anything about this strange magazine, which seems conspicuously absent from any account of the underground press during that period. Send me an email