1. In the late 1950s, while both of us were students at Indiana University, Jack Hirschman (and his wife Ruth) introduced me to poets such as Robert Kelly and Jerome Rothenberg in NYC, as well as to the work of Lorca, Perse, Rilke, Mayakofsky etc. However, I knew the Hirschmans in a different way than I knew Cid. They were mainly friends who shared their enthusiasm for poetry with me.
2. Before working with Cid on José Hierro translations, and going over my work on Vallejo with him, I had shown him the manuscript for my first collection of translations, versions from Residencia en la tierra I and II by Pablo Neruda. I go into some detail concerning this “adventure,” which also involved Paul Blackburn, in “Revisiting Neruda’s Residencias,” an appendix to Conductors of the Pit (Soft Skull, Brooklyn, 2005).
3. See Corman’s thorough Introduction to The Gist of Origin (Grossman/Viking, NYC, 1975) for detailed information on the first three series of origin. The first series is perhaps the most famous, because between 1951 and 1957, it introduced readers to a generation of American poets associated with Charles Olson and Black Mountain College, as well as to a number of European poets. There are, however, a number of conventional writers in the first series that today appear to be at odds with the innovative discoveries. In my opinion, the second and the third series of origin are the most coherent and represent Corman’s finest contribution to American letters as an editor.
In the Introduction to The Gist of Origin, Corman mentions that he ended the second series when he did because of a falling out with Will Petersen. He gave me the impression that it ended because Zukofsky told him he would be better off doing his own writing and abandoning editing.
4. My impression is that Corman revised scholarly translations of the Chinese poets listed, and that he worked with several people whose names I do not know in translating at least some of his Paul Celan versions (which were published against Celan’s wishes; see note on p. 60, #15, third series).
5. For “To Celebrate…” see p. 5, origin third series. For the other two poems, see pp. 259 and 528 in Of, Volume 1.
6. The two poems from which these quotes are taken are to found on pp. 367 and 376 of Of, Volume 1.
7. It might be added here that for Corman all women are essentially one’s mother, all men one’s father, and: there is no such thing as maturity—all remain the child they were. Such a position, in my opinion, saps human experience of its perplexing and educational phases. On one level, what Corman proposes is true. However, contesting other levels enrichens what we all stew in.
8. From “Reflections on Sin, Hope, Pain, and the True Way,” translated by Edwin and Will Muir. Theirs is significantly different from other translations of this most arresting sentence.