Thematic Index to Michael Benedikt's THE BODY & SKY

Subject-Index to topics of poems in Michael Benedikt's first two books of Poetry:

THE BODY (Wesleyan U. Press, l968) & SKY (Wesleyan U. Press, l970).

Page Includes Notes & Commentary

Last Modified 8/22/00--New/Enhanced Notes & Graphics

Intended partly as a teaching & scholarly resource, this page indexes by topic all poems in both books


                                  [The Body]                                                       [Sky]

                                                                     

                    [Book Jacket--Illustration by Anon.]               [Book Jacket--Painting by Tom Wesselmann]               


General Note:

This is a page-in-progress re two books written in the mid-&-later l960's.
A ground-breaking, watershed period in both America's political history
and in the Arts, it was also a particularly explorative period in Benedikt's poetry.
THE BODY and SKY--which contain poems in a wide variety of poetic forms and styles--

initiate the esthetic explorations to be found in Benedikt's later books
as well as other later writings, some of which are represented on The Web.


Contents of This Webpage

1. Thematic Index in Brief: Themes & Topics in THE BODY & SKY by Category
Click for Main Themes in THE BODY & SKY

     2. Thematic Index: Categories, with Titles of Poems in Each Category
(includes Notes & Commentary on some of the main thematic categories)
Click for Main Themes in THE BODY and SKY with Poem-Titles & Commentary

3. Orig. 'Acknowledgment Pages' for THE BODY and SKY as printed by Wesleyan
Click for Acknowledgment Pages with names of Literary Magazines in which poems first appeared

4. Brief Benedikt Biography/Bibliography
Click for Brief Benedikt Bio.

5. Selected External Benedikt Links
Click for other Benedikt-related Websites


Main Themes in THE BODY and SKY by Category

Thematic Categories, starred [*] are followed by Notes & Commentary
Notes so far begin with comments on the Philosophical poems

The Four Elements,   Childhood and Youth and Growing Up,   Gardens and Their Symbolic Meanings,

Time,     Space,     Spirituality,

Philosophy [*],   Love and Eroticism[*],   Business and Finance,  Social Concerns,

Language and Esthetics,  Film and Theatre[*],  References to l960's Art & Artists & Rock Music[*],

& Poems that go to Classifiable Extremes:

(1) Poems in Unusual Forms[*];  (2) Highly Surrealistic Poems[*]

(3) Poems With Radical & Sometimes Multiple Dictional Shifts[*]


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Thematic Index:
Main Topics in THE BODY & SKY
& Titles of Poems Related to Those Topics
(includes Notes & Commentary)

The Four Elements--THE BODY

Air
Pyromaniac's Lament in Spring

The Four Elements--SKY

Water
Liquid Links
On Earth
The Sky

Childhood & Youth & Growing Up--THE BODY

Mr. Rainman
The Cities
The Ambitious Lump

Childhood & Youth & Growing Up--SKY

Passing Through Troy/The Student of Wonder
Psalm I

Gardens & their Symbolic Meanings--THE BODY

Time
Pink Buds
Tulips
In Love With You

Gardens & their Symbolic meanings--SKY

Go--And Whisper To Roses
This Morning I Fooled A Butterfly
The Statue Speaks
Tuberoses
Overheard in A Third Avenue Bar
On The Lawn
The Woman In The Tree

Time--THE BODY

Motion
Procession
Time
Tears
Gemini Emblem
After His 31st Birthday Party
The Way Things Settle
The Wings of The Nose
Old School Ties

Time--SKY

The Future
The Seer
The Statue Speaks (for Bob Dylan)
On The Lawn
Events
Environments
Time Makes Monuments Out Of Events (after Robert Morris)
Vertical Considerations
Vertical Virtues
The Bed Beyond The Bed
Fate In Incognito
Four Psalms
Absence Of Me
Naming The Baby
Regrets

Space--THE BODY

Space--SKY

The Seer
The Sky
Site

Spirituality & Belief--THE BODY

The Spirit
Some Feelings
A Strained Credulity
Thoughts
The Saint
The Guardian Angel

Spirituality & Belief--SKY

Country Living
The Statue Speaks (for Bob Dylan)
Go Away
Vertical Considerations
The Bed Beyond The Bed
The High
Four Psalms
Prayers
Sunday Morning: Hymn

Philosophy--THE BODY(*)

Advancing
Millwheel
After A Reading of McLuhan, Whom I Admired

Philosophy--SKY(*)

On The Lawn
Go Away
Events
Throw Away The Rainbow
The High
On Earth
The Sky
Flicker
Four Psalms
Absence Of Me
Site
Liquid Links
Let Me Out

(*) In two of three extant interviews, Benedikt comments on his interest in philosophy of Plato, during the later l960's & while writing SKY especially. Sidelight: Interviews with Benedikt have appeared in the critical festschrift, BENEDIKT: A PROFILE (Grilled Flowers Press, l977/78, interview by Naomi Shihab Nye);  and in The Falcon (l976, interview by Joe Bellamy)--reprinted with revisions in Poesis (l987); and in The Poetry Society of America Newsletter (l985, interview by Dennis Stone). Available online is (live link)  The P.S.A. interview.   A link to the latter is also given at end-site, under "External Links/Brief Prose Poems." Perspectives, philosophical & other, re THE BODY and SKY are given in the course of all three interviews.

Love poems (Poems about Love & Eroticism)--THE BODY(*)

Divine Love
Some Litanies
Hiding Place
Pink Buds
Tulips
In Love With You
The Grand Guignols of Love
The Great Divan
Developments
Fraudulent Days
A Visual Face
Coiffure
A Beloved Head
Joy
For Love or Money: Two Complaints--Part 1
At Night
The Observation-Tower
The Swimmer's Tears
Before Going On
Inside The Mystery
The Bathroom Mirror
Procession

Love poems (Poems about Love & Eroticism)--SKY(*)

Advice to One More Novice in New York
Rose
The Bed Beyond The Bed
Waking
Prayers
All Women Are One Woman (for their Liberation & Mine)
For Jane (& Roger) But Certainly Not For Henry; or, Barbarella
Modest Undressings
To Persuade A Lady
After a Poetry Reading by Allan Kaplan
Sunday Morning: Hymn
The Woman In The Tree

(*) Commentary on the above BODY-SKY category forthcoming in later 2000 or 2001. Forthcoming before that: a new addition to BODY-SKY webpages called Dark Love Poems. URL for when it's posted:

http://members.tripod.com/~MichaelBenedikt/darklove.html

Business & Finance--THE BODY

For Love or Money: Two Complaints--Part 2

Business & Finance--SKY

Money

Poems of Social Concern--THE BODY

Pyromaniac's Lament in Spring

Poems of Social Concern--SKY

Clement Attlee
Money
The Artillery Portrait
All Women Are One Woman (for their Liberation & Mine)
Money
Overheard in A Third Avenue Bar
Let Me Out

Language & Esthetics--THE BODY

Events by Moonlight
After A Reading of McLuhan, Whom I Admired

Language & Esthetics--SKY

The Sky
Absence Of Me
Site
The Esthetic Fallacy
Definitive Things
Mirror (poem-event for Julian Beck)
After a Poetry Reading by Allan Kaplan
The Wonders of The Arm

Film & Theatre--THE BODY

Film & Theatre--SKY(*)

The Audience for Eternity
Mirror (Poem-Event for Julian Beck)
For Jane (& Roger) But Certainly Not For Henry; or, Barbarella (for Jane Fonda)
Overheard in A Third Avenue Bar (Jean-Luc Godard; passing reference)
Naming The Baby (Godard; passing reference)

(*) Benedikt's interest in the films of Godard is also reflected in the article "Alphaville And Its Subtext (in Paul Eluard's Poetry)," collected in Jean-Luc Godard, Ed. Toby Mussman (E.P. Dutton, 1968). His translation of the scenario of Godard's "A Woman Is A Woman" first appeared in France in Cahiers du Cinema, circa l966, and was later reprinted in the Dutton Godard  anthology.

    Benedikt's interest in Happenings, reflected in "Mirror"--a poem dedicated to Director Julian Beck of  The Living Theatre--is fully reflected in his anthology Theatre Experiment (Doubleday, l967). Theatre Experiment includes, in addition to a general Introduction to the Happening genre, scripts by "happeners" Allan Kaprow/Charles Frazier, Carolee Schneemann, and Robert Whitman; and brief Intros to each of their Events. (It was about Whitman's Happening Flower that Benedikt wrote his first art-related article, which appeared in The Village Voice in l963, when Happenings were still relatively new. The article is reprinted in Theatre Experiment).

Alt. Book-Jkt design for SKY by Chas. Frazier

Above: Alternate Book-Jacket Design for SKY by Sculptor Charles Frazier

    Two other Benedikt visual-arts-related articles, "Happenings in 1968" and "The Underground Film Breaks Cover" were published in l968 in The London Magazine. "New at The Seventh Annual Lincoln Center Film Festival" appeared in Andy Warhol's magazine, Inter/View, in 1969.

References to l960's Art, Artists, & Rock Musicians--THE BODY(*)

References to l960's Art, Artists, & Rock Musicians--SKY(*)

Overheard in A Third Avenue Bar (Bob Dylan; passing reference)
The Statue Speaks (dedicated to Bob Dylan)
Time Makes Monuments Out Of Events (dedicated to Robert Morris)
The High (Charlotte Moorman; Rudi Gernreich; passing reference)
Site (Bill Haley & The Comets)
Naming The Baby (Mick Jagger & Donovan; passing references)

(*) Directly or indirectly, many poems in THE BODY and SKY (the latter especially) reflect the iconography of visual artists--particularly the "Pop Artists" and "Minimalist Artists" active during the l960's. During the l960's Benedikt worked as an Art Critic, reviewing art exhibitions as one of several Editorial Associates from l963-l972 for the magazine Art News, and also writing articles on such painters as the French 'Intimist' painter Pierre Bonnard, and contemporary US. artists Fairfield Porter, Jack Youngerman, and Sherman Drexler. In l965/66/67 he reviewed art exhibitions for Art International, as one of only three 'New York Correspondents' responsible for covering major art exhibits in the entire N.Y.City metropolitan area. The Art International reviews are more extended  than the Art News reviews. Examples of a few of the Art International reviews were collected under the title "Sculpture as Architecture: New York Letter for Art International 1966-67," and appear in the anthology Minimalist Art, ed. Gregory Battcock (E.P. Dutton, l968). An extensive article entitled "The Visionary French: l9th Century French Symbolist Poets & Painters," which first appeared in Art News Annual, 1966, was reprinted in The Grand Eccentrics, ed. John Ashbery and Thomas Hess (Collier Books, 1971).

    Sidelight: "Yoko Ono Notes," a feature article about a Museum Exhibition by the Asian-American conceptual artist--at which former Beatle John Lennon acted as co-spokesperson during press conferences with art critics and others--appeared in the British magazine Art & Artists in 1972. The piece is illustrated by photographs taken by Benedikt, as are the two London Magazine articles on film & theater referred to earlier.

Benedikt taking photo at Art Gallery in London

Above: Benedikt taking photo of an environmental sculpture at an art gallery in London, l968.
[Sculpture is 'mirror-room' type. Photog. is leaning through circular opening in wall of sculpture to take picture]

(Poems that go to Classifiable Extremes:)

Poems in Unusual Forms --THE BODY(*)

The European Shoe (a "List-Poem"; also a poem with biblical-type strophes, but with
    modern concerns, & verging on prose poem)

The Eye ( " )
Some Litanies (poem-playlets)
Tears (poem incorporating "Concrete Poem" ("Visual Poem") ingredient)
A Visual Face (poem incorporating "Concrete Poem" ingredient)
A Enormous Dangling Sack-Like Net (Prose Poem)

Poems in Unusual Forms--SKY(*)

Four Psalms (poem with biblical-type strophes, verging on Prose Poem)
Mirror: Poem-Event for Julian Beck (poem which considers the act of writing as an "event"--
    event, in the sense of a l960's-style "Happening." During the l960's, "Event" was an
    alternative term used for the "Happening." "Mirror" considers its own progress,
    as if it were, itself, an "Event"; and is one of many BODY / SKY poems in which Benedikt     makes "asides" taking the reader into his confidence with regard to The Poetic Process).
On The Lawn (free-verse poem which changes from improvised form to "List Poem")
Vertical Considerations ( " )
Site (begins as free-form poem; concludes by referring back to itself)
Naming The Baby (a "List Poem," but with free-form, lyrical beginning & ending)
Definitive Things (poem structured by reference to puns, and approximately similar words,
    forcing issues of "Concrete Poetry" by actually taking into account the size of the page
    on which it is printed).

(*) Besides being in "free" verse, many, many poems in THE BODY, & (especially) SKY possess structures which are highly improvisational. They force issues of what philosopher-
esthetician Suzanne K. Langer calls "Organic Form" or "Virtual form"--perhaps to the vicinity of their limits. (Benedikt, as many critics have noted, is a risk-taker, even as modern/contemporary poets go). Listed above are examples of poems in which the feeling for Organic Form in both THE BODY and SKY, produces poems in genres either (1) rare in poetry or (2) new for Benedikt, or even (3) brand-new to poetry. These poems contain the seeds of many other, less obviously esthetically extreme BODY/SKY poems. In one of his interviews, Benedikt points out that his later-l960's interest in forcing the limits of "Organic Form" led to involvement in the l970's with The Prose Poem as a literary genre--as Editor, as well as practicing poet. Cf . Benedikt's third poetry book, MOLE NOTES (prose poems, Wesleyan U. Press, l971); and his fourth, NIGHT CRIES (Prose Poems, Wesleyan, l976); and also THE PROSE POEM: AN INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY (Dell/Laurel, l976). (Originally issued as a mass-market paperback, but by now legendarily scarce and currently available only in libraries & some rare bookstores, to this day a durable hardcover, edition of THE PROSE POEM has yet to be printed). Many have lamented this. For example, most recently (as of the date of this modification of this Website in 2000), the editor of a literary magazine called The Prose Poem: A International Journal--which was named after Benedikt's prose poem anthology--wrote in Issue #10  regarding Benedikt's "groundbreaking anthology": "when will some visionary publisher reprint this wondrous collection?" Issue #10 of PPAIJ, on topic of "The Best of The Prose Poem," also includes an example of a later Benedikt prose poem.

      In Benedikt's P.S.A. interview , referred to earlier, he refers to the influence of ideas re "Organic Form" as encouraging him to extend the long lines of some of his verse poems to strophes, paragraphs, and finally--in MOLE NOTES and NIGHT CRIES (two books of prose poems which he published in the l970's)--to prose poems written in single paragraphs. (l980, and his book entitled THE BADMINTON AT GREAT BARRINGTON, signaled Benedikt's return to writing verse).

Highly Surrealistic Poems--THE BODY(*)

Motions: after Man Ray (Surrealist painter & photographer)
Mr. Rainman
The Eye of the Assassin
The European Shoe
The Aider
Some Old Men
A Beloved Head
Events By Moonlight
Dangerous Ways
The Villain
A Room
The Wings of The Nose
The Debris of The Body
The Audience for Eternity
The Guardian Angel

Highly Surrealistic Poems--SKY(*)

Go--& Whisper to Roses
Clement Attlee
The Seer
Tuberoses
The Artillery Portrait
Events
Psalm IV
Site

(*) Some critics have considered both THE BODY and SKY "Surrealistic"-- or at least influenced by French Surrealism. Benedikt's anthology, THE POETRY OF SURREALISM was published by Little, Brown & Co. in l975. However, it is well to remember that Surrealism itself has roots which spring--like Benedikt's early poetry--from Romantic/pre-Symbolist/& Symbolist poetry. Listed above are a few of the poems in which Surrealism definitely predominates.

Poems with Multiple or Radical Dictional Shifts--THE BODY(*)

For Love Or Money

Poems with Multiple or Radical Dictional Shifts--SKY(*)

Go--And Whisper To Roses
Coming And Going: Part I (Passing Through Troy)
Environments (poem specifically mentions preference for informal diction)
The High
The Sky
Flicker
Fate In Incognito
Psalm II
Liquid Links
Let Me Out (poem specifically mentions admiration for Wordsworth)
Naming The Baby
Definitive Things
For Jane (& Roger) But Certainly Not for Henry; or Barbarella (for Jane Fonda)
To Persuade A Lady

(*) Many poems in both THE BODY and SKY reflect the influence of the ideas of the 19th century English Romantic/pre-Symbolist poets--especially Wordsworth's ideas about "natural" form, and using natural diction and speech-patterns in poetry. Benedikt forces these ideas also
--often switching rapidly back and forth between different types of natural speech and diction actually used in "everyday life," and more formal speech. This occurs from poem-to-poem, and within individual poems as well (Benedikt is obviously interested in treating his readers to a wide variety of poetic experiences in several esthetic areas). Listed above are a few of the poems in which dictional shifts predominate.


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Acknowledgment Pages

(Transcribed below are the original Acknowledgment Pages for THE BODY and SKY, including names of literary magazines in which poems were first published)


THE BODY (Wesleyan University Press, l968)

Copyright © l962, l964, l965, l966, l967, l968 by Michael Benedikt

Many of these poems have previously appeared elsewhere. For permission to reprint them here, and for the assignments of copyrights, grateful acknowledgment is made to the editors of the following: Angel Hair, Ambit, Art & Literature, Choice, Lugano Review, Minnesota Review, Paris Review, Quarterly Review of Literature, The Sixties, and Translatlantic Review.

"Before Going On," "An Enormous Dangling Sack-Like Net," "The Eye," "Fraudulent Days," "Inside The Mystery," "Motions," "Pink Beds," "Procession," "The Saint," "Some Litanies," "Some Old Men," "A Strained Credulity," "Tears," "Time," "Thoughts," "Tulips," "The Villain," "A Visual Face," and "The Wings of the Nose" were first printed in Poetry.

(Hardbound & Paperback)
Library of Congress Catalog #: 68-27539


SKY (Wesleyan University Press, l970)

Copyright © l967, l968, l969, l970 by Michael Benedikt

Many of these poems have previously appeared in periodicals. For permissions to reprint and for copyright assignments, grateful acknowledgment is made to the editors and publishers of Ambit, Bennington Review, Chelsea, Kayak, Kenyon Review,London Magazine, Modern Poetry Studies, New American Review, Paris Review, The Seventies, Stand, Sumac and The World.

"Money," "On Earth," "Psalm I," "Psalm II," "Psalm III," "Psalm IV," "The Sky," "The Statue Speaks, " "Water," and "The Wonders of the Arm" first appeared in Poetry.

Hardbound: ISBN: 0-8195-2052-7
Paperback: ISBN: 0-8195-1052-1
Library of Congress Catalog #: 75-120257


Brief Benedikt Biography

(Complete bio. appears in Who's Who in America, World, etc.)

Note: Selections from several of Benedikt's books now appear at various   websites

Michael Benedikt has published five collections of poetry: The Badminton at Great Barrington; or, Gustave Mahler & The Chattanooga Choo-Choo (University of Pittsburgh Press, l980); and with Wesleyan Univ. Press, Night Cries (prose poems, l976); Mole Notes (prose poems, l971); Sky (l970); and The Body (l968). Anthologies of poetry under his editorship are The Prose Poem: An International Anthology (Dell/Laurel, l976); and The Poetry of Surrealism (Little Brown, l974). His anthologies of plays include three volumes co-edited with theater critic George E. Wellwarth: Modern French Theatre: The Avant-Garde, Dada, & Surrealism (E.P. Dutton, l964); Post-War German Theatre (Dutton, l967); & Modern Spanish Theatre (Dutton, l969). He is also the editor of Theatre Experiment: American Plays (Doubleday, l967). He is a former Associate Editor of Art News and Art International. A former Poetry Editor of The Paris Review, his editorial selections are represented in The Paris Review Anthology (Norton, l990). His recent, l990's poetry has been published in New York Quarterly, Agni, Iowa Review, Jerusalem Review, Lips, Michigan Quarterly Review, The New Republic, and Partisan Review; and in the current issue of The Paris Review(#151). His work appears in numerous anthologies of US modern/contemporary poetry. His grants and awards include an NEA Fellowship, and a NY State Council On The Arts Grant, and a Guggenheim Grant. He has given many readings from his poetry, early & other, at colleges and bookstores around the USA; and has taught in English & Creative Writing Depts. at Bennington, Sarah Lawrence, Hampshire, and Vassar College/s; and at Boston University. He lives in New York City. E-Mail at benedit1@aol.com.


OTHER LINKS WITHIN THIS  WEBSITE

Click for page with Table of Contents for THE BODY & Many Examples of Poems from It
Selected Poems from THE BODY.

Click for page with Especially Eerie Poems from THE BODY

Click all the way back to Home Page of this Website with Site-Map
Michael Benedikt: Early Books of Poetry--THE BODY and SKY


EXTERNAL  LINKS  TO  WEBSITES RELATED TO OTHER  BENEDIKT BOOKS

Prose Poems by Michael Benedikt, with Y2K updates of selections from Benedikt's fourth book
of poetry, Night Cries; & a review of Benedikt's 1970's prose poetry from
The London Times Literary Supplement. Review also discusses prose poetry generally

Prose Poems by Michael Benedikt: Brief Prose Poems, with updates of shorter poems from Night Cries.
Also, an update 1998-99 of an interview with Benedikt on prose poetry, etc., originally published in
The Poetry Society of America Newsletter; & an essay on "Future of The American Prose Poem"

The Badminton at Great Barrington; or, Gustave Mahler & The Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
Selections from Benedikt's 5th & most recent poetry book, published in l980--tragi-comic love poems

The Thesaurus & Other New Verse. Online title for selections from a Benedikt work-in-progress entitled Of:.   Many poems from Of:   have been published in various literary magazines.
Some of those, & a few others, are collected at 'Thesaurus' site


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