Going through my old things, I surprisedly came across a letter that Cid Corman wrote me while I was working on my Muriel Rukeyser thesis, some of which will strike as contraversial. I leave out the beginning formalities for the sake of time. The letter was a response to my question about the marginalization of Rukeyser's work. I don't know what ultimately led me to Corman-- perhaps that we had met briefly earlier at Naropa. It was exciting to re-find the letter, and his comments were insightful, not only to Rukeyser's work, but his attitudes about women and Niedecker.
"Muriel R I never met or knew personally. I did admire her early book THEORY OF FLIGHT. Her WAKE ISLAND meant well but was a big disappointment to me. I found her work uneven, but even so- more interesting than most. Lorine is much finer and is gradually finding a greater audience -- long overdue. (All my people are/were independent spirits, like myself, and that tends to keep us out of the standard taxts, at least while we're "alive.")
I think she (MR) was included in John Ciardi's MIDCENTURY AN ANTHOLOGY from the early 50's. She may had have had a poem or two in Oscar Wms pocket anthologies - but he and his wife (Gene Derwood), poor poets, were far more conspicuous. Whether MR ever attained a place in Untermeter's standard texts in the late 30's and 40's - I cant recall. Possible. But meagrely. I see she's NOT in the Ellman OXFORD job - no more than LN is.
I wish women wd get off the gender kick: they narrow their perceptions needlessly. Lorine has sharper eyes than this. And was a wonderful human being.
Academia/the Establishment have all the credentials that work with regular publishers and they guarentee BIZ/sales/money. They have the buyers in their pockets. As simple as that. By and large publishers have NO sense of poetry. Jay Laughlin exceptional, but even he has missed out on some great ones. (He has first crack at Zukofsky and LN).
Poetry often, alas, is slow becoming accessible to its audience. Higginson boosted Emily imensely but merely tolerated her as a freak. Whitman and Melville as poets were largely posthumous figures"
I will type the final two paragraphs tommorrow,