Extra Extra: Ed Sanders’ Investigative Poetry available again - [EBSAddendum 1] - Edward Sanders’ Investigative Poetry has had a slowly percolating influence since its publication by City Lights in 1976. Over the years, Sanders has taught poetry, and this book was a mainstay of his method. It certainly influenced blues poet John Sinclair, as he began to versify on the lives of the blues saints in Fattening Frogs for Snakes [Surregional Press, 2002] – a versified history of blues.
Sanders work as a poet and teacher has continued to focus on using poetry to tell history, to tell of real events, to urge the poet to do the gumshoe investigators’ legwork to’ get that story.’ You may recognize that these traits put it outside the mainstream of currently dominant trends in poetry. Example is found everyday on Garrisson Keiller’s PBS poetry reading – it’s nice but there are always words about feelings but nothing ever happens.
Sanders might admit to that the investigative style is out of the mainstream, but he could also well finger important anabranches of the investigative strain – he could cite the work of Ezra Pound, who ‘first gave us melodic blizzards of data fragments”, Charles Olson, who devoured the public records of Gloucester, Massachusetts to populate The Maximus Poems with lyrical data, or Allen Ginsberg, who constantly reported on events as he versified on the globe. Sanders’ Investigative Poetry’s manfiest: “That poetry should again assume responsibility for the description of history.”
Now the news - Sanders' made this great - long out of print - piece known as Investigative Poetry avalable on his web site.
If there are pillars to be discerned in Sanders’ work, investigative poetry is one of them. Another is conscientious political progressivism. Another is avant-garde experimentation. Another – and the one I am researching now – is imaginative use of electronics means to accompany poetic performance: the Electronic Bard System he shaped over a number of years.
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