Remembering Cid Corman
Cid Corman’s Origin Magazine, along with Robert Bly’s Sixties Magazine, was one of the most influential non-academic poetry journals of last half of the 20th century, what is less remembered is Cid Corman’s important work as both a poet and translator. Gregory Dunne’s remembrance, Quiet Accomplishment, brings all facets of Cid to life in this wonderful work.
Although Cid Corman was a seminal figure as editor and publisher of both the magazine Origin and early books by a number of important poets of the 20th century, his own poetry has not before been the subject of serious study. This situation has finally begun to be rectified with Gregory Dunne’s Quiet Accomplishment, which is part memoir, part interview, part scholarly investigation of the volumes of Corman’s major collection, of, that have so far been published.
Cid Corman—a good poet, exceptional translator, & trusted editor—was dragoman and friend to many writers. Young American poets—and this began in the nineteen-fifties—hoped to get to Kyoto to meet him. Warmhearted opinionated irascible: you wrote, and in a few days back came an aerogram full of spirited argument. Some of us carried his Bashō paperback everywhere, a model of how to walk on the earth, stout shoes and notebook all that you needed. Well, Gregory Dunne did go to Japan. He looked Cid up, and hung out for years in the ice cream shop run by Cid and Shizumi. This memoir is the best portrait we’ve got.
One of the chief architects of the New American Poetry, Cid Corman has been known mostly for editing the pivotal journal Origin. In Quiet Accomplishment Gregory Dunne opens a much larger window onto Corman’s inspiring work as poet, translator, editor, and mentor. Through extensive interviews with the poet and finely detailed memoir, Dunne presents an intimate encounter with “the best kept secret in American poetry.”
Gregory Dunne is the author of two collections of poetry: Home Test (Adastra Press, 2009) and Fistful of Lotus (2000). He has contributed to Strangest of Theaters: Poets Writing Across Borders (McSweeneys and the Poetry Foundation, 2013). His poetry and prose have appeared in numerous magazines, including the American Poetry Review, Manoa, Poetry East, and Kyoto Journal. He lives in Japan and teaches in the Faculty of Comparative Culture at Miyazaki International College.
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