Tag Archives: Rudolph Burckhardt

Locus Solus

“L’écriteau bref qui s’offre à l’oeil apitoyé”
– Roussel

The first generation of New York School poets took their first shot at editing their own magazine in Locus Solus, a title that marks a private space both in its meaning (solitary place) and its derivation. It alludes to a 1914 novel of the same title by Raymond Roussel, the obscure French author whose work provided a secret meeting ground for the New York School poets. The idea for the magazine originated with Harry Mathews and John Ashbery, both living in France at the time. Mathews was able to provide funding through a recent inheritance, but otherwise his interest in the magazine was principally devoted to seeing installments of his novel The Conversions published in the first three issues, though the final issue (No. 5, 1962) also contains his poem “The Ring” and his translation of a portion of Roussel’s Locus Solus. Ashbery provided editorial leadership by assembling a “Double Issue of New Poetry” (numbers 3-4, winter 1962) and recruiting James Schuyler and Kenneth Koch to edit other issues. Koch’s “Special Collaborations Issue” (No. 2, summer 1961) remains a significant reference point for the practice that has become a defining feature of New York School poetry. Schuyler’s issues, the first and last (No. 1, winter 1961; No. 5, 1962), are miscellaneous but nevertheless formed by a deliberate intention to represent a group identity as Schuyler conceived it. In soliciting a contribution from his longtime friend Chester Kallman (1921–75), whose work appeared in the final issue, Schuyler explained that “part of the unstated objective” of Locus Solus was to offer “a riposte at The New American Poetry [1960], which has so thoroughly misrepresented so many of us” (it did not represent Kallman at all).

As a correction or supplement to The New American Poetry, 1945-1960, the most important contributions of Locus Solus are the re-introduction of Edwin Denby (represented in the first issue by nine sonnets from Mediterranean Cities [1956]) and the forecasting of Ashbery’s “experimental” turn in poems later collected in The Tennis Court Oath (1962; “The New Realism,” Locus Solus, Nos. 3–4) and Rivers and Mountains (1966; “Into the Dusk-Charged Air,” Locus Solus, No. 5). The poets’ work in prose is also represented in Schuyler’s “Current Events” (Locus Solus, No. 1); an early installment of the collaborative novel by Schuyler and Ashbery, A Nest of Ninnies (Locus Solus, No. 2); and Denby’s memoir “The Thirties” (Locus Solus, No. 5). The representation of the first-generation New York School poets in Locus Solus is completed with work by Kenward Elmslie, Barbara Guest, Koch, and Frank O’hara. The second generation begins to emerge with names that were to become prominent (Bill Berkson, Ted Berrigan, Joseph Ceravolo, John Perreault) and some others who had connected with Koch and O’Hara through their workshops at the New School (Jean Boudin, Allan Kaplan, Ruth Krauss). Another workshop student, Michael Benedikt (1935-2007), though not usually associated with the New York School, made his closest connection in the context of Locus Solus, assuming the title of managing editor for the final issue.

Although handsomely printed on fine paper, Locus Solus was not illustrated. It included writing by various authors with ties to the visual arts that were so important to New York School poetry. Fairfield Porter (and his wife, Anne), Robert Dash (a painter friend of the Porters), Musa McKim (the wife of Philip Guston), Larry Rivers, and Harold Rosenberg all contributed poems. Rudolph Burckhardt published Love in Three Acts: A Swiss Play (Locus Solus, No. 1). Using the form of a play, Jane Freilicher and Koch assigned lines to various parts of “The Car” (Locus Solus, No. 2) in a demonstration of collaboration on several levels. In the final issue, poems by Gerard Malanga and Piero Heliczer (1937-1993) signal the Andy Warhol circle that would expand throughout the coming decade to take in many New York School poets.

–Diggory, Terence. “Locus Solus” Encyclopedia of the New York School Poets. 2009


1. LOCUS SOLUS, No. 1, edited by James Schuyler
Lans-en-Vercors: Locus Solus, Winter 1960-1961

First edition, sewn-signatures bound into printed wrappers, 5” x 7”, 168 pages. There were 100 special copies printed in a limited numbered issue. Printed by Imprenta Graficas Miramar, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

  • Contents:
    1. Kenneth Koch – “On the Go”
      Kenneth Koch – “The Circus”
      Kenneth Koch – “The Railway Stationery”
      Barbara Guest – “Afternoons I: The Location of Things”
      Barbara Guest – “Afternoons II: Windy Afternoon”
      Barbara Guest – “Afternoons III: Russians at the Beach”
      Barbara Guest – “Melisande”
      Barbara Guest – “River Side”
      Barbara Guest – “Palm Trees”
      Barbara Guest – “All Grey-Haired My Sisters”
      James Schuyler – “Current Events”
      Anne Porter – “The First of May”
      Ebbe Borregaard – “Other stories of the beauty wapiti”
      Ebbe Borregaard – “wapiti 3”
      Ebbe Borregaard – “from Sprach””
      John Ashbery – “Idaho”
      John Ashbery – “Spring Twilight”
      John Ashbery – “Thoughts of a Young Girl”
      John Ashbery – “The Passive Preacher”
      John Ashbery – “Winter”
      John Ashbery – “A White Paper”
      Harry Mathews – “The Conversions (I)”
      Frank O’Hara – “Poem” [“To be idiomatic in a vacuum…”]
      Frank O’Hara – “Overlooking the River”
      Frank O’Hara – “East River”
      Frank O’Hara – “Ducal Days”
      Frank O’Hara – “Locarno, to James Schuyler”
      Frank O’Hara – “The Opera”
      Frank O’Hara – “House”
      Frank O’Hara – “Failures of Spring”
      Frank O’Hara – “Adieu to Norman, Bonjour to Joan and Jean-Paul”
      Frank O’Hara – “Far from the Porte des Lilas and the Rue Pergolese, to Joan Mitchell”
      Edwin Denby – “from Mediterranean Cities: Trastevere A Dedication”
      Edwin Denby – “from Mediterranean Cities: Venice”
      Edwin Denby – “from Mediterranean Cities: Villa D’este”
      Edwin Denby – “from Mediterranean Cities: Olévano Romano”
      Edwin Denby – “from Mediterranean Cities: Sant’ Angelo D’ischia”
      Edwin Denby – “from Mediterranean Cities: Positano”
      Edwin Denby – “from Mediterranean Cities: Delos”
      Edwin Denby – “from Mediterranean Cities: Mykonos”
      Edwin Denby – “from Mediterranean Cities: Ciampino Envoi”
      Robin Blaser – “Cups”
      George Montgomery – “The Painters”
      George Montgomery – “The Poet”
      George Montgomery – “Rocks under me are hard”
      George Montgomery – “D.W.”
      Rudy Burckhardt – “Love in Three Acts: a Swiss Play”
      Fairfield Porter – “The Mountain”
      Fairfield Porter – “To Laurence”
      Fairfield Porter – “At the End of Summer”
      Fairfield Porter – “When the morning train…”

2. LOCUS SOLUS, No. 2, A SPECIAL ISSUE OF COLLABORATIONS, edited by Kenneth Koch
Lans-en-Vercors: Locus Solus, Summer 1961

First edition, sewn-signatures bound into printed wrappers, 5” x 7.25”, 208 pages. There were 50 special copies printed in a limited numbered issue. Printed by Atar S.A., Geneva.

  • Contents:
    1. John Ashbery – “To a Waterfowl”
      Five Chinese Poets – “A Garland of Roses” (translated by Donald Keene)
      Sei Shonagon and The Empress Sadako – “Poem about Saisho” (translated by Arthur Waley)
      Basho, Bonsho, Fumikuni and Kyorai – “The Kite’s Feathers” (translated by The Nippon Gkujutsu Shinkokai)
      Kakei, Basho – “November” (translated by Donald Keene)
      Basho, Ichiei, Sora and Sensui – “Gather Seawards” (translated by Donald Keene)
      Sogi, Shohaku and Socno – “Three Poets at Minase” (translated by Donald Keene)
      Blacatz and Vidal – “Tenso” (translated by Paul Blackburn)
      Vidal and Lanza – “Tenso” (translated by Paul Blackburn)
      Aragon, Salvatge, Foix and Auriac – “Coblas” (translated by Paul Blackburn)
      John Fletcher and William Shakespeare – “Song”
      John Donne and Henry Goodyere – “A Letter”
      Abraham Cowley and Richard Crashaw – “On Hope”
      John Suckling and Edmund Waller – “In Answer of Sir John Suckling’s Verses”
      Thomas Chatterton – “Onn Oure Ladies Chyrche”
      Thomas Chatterton – “The Account of W. Canynges Feast”
      Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey – “Two Passages from ‘Joan of Arc'”
      Marinetti, Cangiullo – “Public Garden: A Play” (translated by Kenneth Koch)
      André Breton and Paul Eluard – “from The Immaculate Conception” (translated by John Ashbery)
      Paul Eluard and Benjamin Peret – “Surrealist Proverbs” (translated by Kenneth Koch)
      André Breton and Yves Tanguy – “Question and Answer Game” (translated by Kenneth Koch)
      Paul Eluard and Others – “Cadavres Exquis” (translated by Kenneth Koch)
      René Char and Paul Eluard – “New” (translated by John Ashbery)
      René Char and Paul Eluard – “Landings” (translated by John Ashbery)
      James McAuley and Harold Stewart – “Boult to Marina”
      James McAuley and Harold Stewart – “Sybilline”
      John Ashbery and James Schuyler – “A Nest of Ninnies”
      Frank O’Hara – “Choses Passageres”
      Joseph Ceravolo and John Perreault – “Milk”
      Daniel Krakauer – “The Jack Who Yawned”
      Michael Benedikt and Milton Gilman – “Under the Stones, Where it is Shy”
      Jane Freilicher and Kenneth Koch – “The Car”
      Bill Berkson and Kenward Elmslie – “Armagnac or The Visitor”
      William Burroughs and Gregory Corso – “Everywhere March Your Head”
      William Burroughs and Gregory Corso – “Sons of Your In”
      Gregory Corso – “Cut Up”
      Ruth Krauss – “News”
      Ruth Krauss – [untitled] “compare thee…”
      John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch – “The Young Collectors”
      John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch – “Crone Rhapsody”
      John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch – “The Inferno”
      John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch – “Gottlieb’s Rainbow”
      John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch – “New Year’s Eve”
      John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch – “A Servant to Servants”
      Harry Mathews – “The Conversions (II)”
      Kenneth Koch – “A Note on this Issue”

3. LOCUS SOLUS, Nos. 3-4, NEW POETRY, edited by John Ashbery
Lans-en-Vercors: Locus Solus, Winter 1961-1962

First edition, sewn-signatures bound into printed wrappers, 5” x 7.25”, 296 pages. Printed by Atar S.A., Geneva.

  • Contents:
    1. Michael Benedikt – “Victoria Falls”
      Michael Benedikt – “The Estate”
      Michael Benedikt – “In the Park”
      Michael Benedikt – “Traditions of Farming”
      Leroi Jones – “A Long Poem for Myself”
      Leroi Jones – “Style”
      Leroi Jones – “The End of Man is His Beauty”
      Leroi Jones – “A Poem for Myself, the Fool”
      Daniel Krakauer – “Selestina”
      Daniel Krakauer – “Prince Valiant’s Childhood”
      Bill Berkson – “Four Great Songs”
      Bill Berkson – “Warnings”
      Bill Berkson – “A Hot Day”
      Bill Berkson – “Poem, to Joe Lesueur”
      Bill Berkson – “Breath”
      Bill Berkson – “All You Want”
      Bill Berkson – “Pollyanna”
      Welton Smith – “If I Could Hold You for Light”
      Welton Smith – “This Sojourn in the Middle of Summer”
      Larry Rivers – “The Song of Polish Night”
      Larry Rivers – “1953”
      Larry Rivers – “The Month”
      Larry Rivers – “An Ape is in the Bedroom”
      Larry Rivers – “Only God Can Make a Tree”
      Larry Rivers – “Benjamin F”
      Robin Blaser – “The Park”
      Diane Di Prima – “Moon Mattress”
      Dennis Quinn – “from Life Shapes, Clock and Vein”
      Dennis Quinn – “from Life Shapes, Candles”
      Dennis Quinn – “from Life Shapes, You”
      Dennis Quinn – “from Life Shapes, Wish”
      Dennis Quinn – “Question”
      Dennis Quinn – “Off Guam”
      Dennis Quinn – “High”
      Dennis Quinn – “In Tangier”
      Alan Ansen – “Moonling”
      Alan Ansen – “Prohibition”
      Alan Ansen – “On and On and On”
      Robert Lax – [untitled] “the port…”
      Robert Lax – [untitled] “shadows…”
      Robert Lax – [untitled] “mystery of water…”
      Robert Lax – [untitled] “to the center…”
      Jean Boudin – “Second Story Brownstone”
      Jean Boudin – “Of the Nile”
      Frank O’Hara – “How to Get There”
      Frank O’Hara – “Favorite Painting in the Metropolitan”
      Frank O’Hara – “Wind”
      Frank O’Hara and Bill Berkson – “from The Memorandums of Angelicus Fobb”
      Frank O’Hara and Bill Berkson – “FYI 6/26/61 (The Picnic Hour)”
      George Stanley – “The Death of Orpheus”
      George Stanley – “Moonlight”
      Paul Carroll – “Postcard for Joseph Cornell”
      Denis Roche – [untitled] “As a matter of fact…” (translate by John Ashbery)
      Marcelin Pleynet – “of coal” (translated by John Ashbery)
      Marcelin Pleynet – “the new republic” (translated by John Ashbery)
      Marcelin Pleynet – “Black” (translated by John Ashbery)
      Pierre Martory – “Evenings in Rochefort” (translated by John Ashbery)
      Pierre Martory – “Tchat”
      Joseph Ceravolo – “A Great Sadness”
      Joseph Ceravolo – “The Climb”
      Joseph Ceravolo – “The Forest”
      Joseph Ceravolo – “Different Fragments of 2 Different Negro Poems”
      Joseph Ceravolo – “Water: How Weather Feels the Cotton Hotels”
      Musa McKim – “The News from Here”
      Musa McKim – “A Theory”
      Musa McKim – “The Train”
      Allan Kaplan – “Memory in France”
      Allan Kaplan – “Soliloquy of a Boat”
      Allan Kaplan – “Traffic Signals…”
      Hugh Amory – “from The Federalists”
      Daisy Aldan – “Zina”
      Kenward Elmslie – “Shirley Temple Surrounded by Lions”
      Kenward Elmslie – “Solar Rebus”
      Kenward Elmslie – “Ghandi”
      Kenward Elmslie – “Experts at Veneers”
      James Schuyler – “December”
      Gerard Malanga – “Psyche”
      James Koller – [untitled] “crouched in mothers musk…”
      James Merrill – “Letter from Egypt”
      David Ball – “A Recent Conversation”
      John Ashbery – “The New Realism”
      Furman Stout – “Prose Poem for Clara”
      Landis Everson – “from The Little Ghosts I Played With”
      John Perreault – “Circles”
      John Perreault – “O Whatta Beautiful Polish City So Shiny Aluminum”
      John Perreault – “Paris”
      Barbara Guest – “Dardanella”
      Barbara Guest – “His Jungle”
      Barbara Guest and Sa’Di Koylan – “Turkish”
      Anselm Hollo – “Text 9.iii. 1961”
      Kenneth Koch – “Ma Provence”
      Kenneth Koch – “Rialto”
      Kenneth Koch – “The Steam Bath”
      Kenneth Koch – “The Coat License”
      Kenneth Koch – “How Fair”
      Kenneth Koch – “Bon Dieu”
      Kenneth Koch – “The Echo”
      Jack Foss – “The Categorical Avoidance”
      Robert Magowan – “Summer of 1958”
      Robert Magowan – “Myra”
      Thomas Jackrell – “Grandma”
      Thomas Jackrell – “A Plan”
      Thomas Jackrell – “Art Finally Safe”
      Thomas Jackrell – “The River”
      Thomas Jackrell – “from Green Book: Cactuscope”
      Thomas Jackrell – “from Green Book”
      Thomas Jackrell – “The South Central States of America”
      Harry Mathews – “The Conversions (III)”

5. LOCUS SOLUS, No. 5, edited by James Schuyler
Lans-en-Vercors: Locus Solus, 1962

First edition, sewn-signatures bound into printed wrappers, 5” x 7.25”, 184 pages. Printed by Atar S.A., Geneva.

  • Contents:
    1. Gerard Malanga – “Ode to Turchetti”
      Gerard Malanga – “The Girl Stands Under the Mobile at the Museum”
      Gerard Malanga – “Amour, Amour, Amour”
      Harold Rosenberg – “Ballad of Moral Beauty”
      Chester Kallman – “Wanderer”
      Chester Kallman – “Weighty Questions”
      Edwin Denby – “The Thirties”
      Frank O’Hara – “Mary Desti’s Ass”
      Frank O’Hara – “Madrid”
      Frank O’Hara – “Poem” (“Twin spheres full of fur and noise…”
      Frank O’Hara – “Blue Territory, to Helen Frankenthaler”
      Frank O’Hara – “Lebanon”
      Ted Berrigan – “Poem in the Traditional Manner”
      Carl Morse – “First Snow: Yorkville and Elsewhere”
      Carl Morse – “The Crisis: Tompkins Park and After”
      Carl Morse – “Anchor Demolition: East 82nd Street”
      Musa Guston – “On Your Birthday”
      Musa Guston – “Brooklyns”
      Piero Heliczer – “The Beautiful Ambush”
      Piero Heliczer – “The Diving Bell”
      Anselm Hollo – “A Letter, Both Intimate and Didactic”
      Thomas Anhava – “Elegy for Night” (translated by Anselm Hollo)
      Frank Lissauer – “Repercussion”
      Frank Lissauer – “Towards Silence”
      Frank Lissauer – “A Proposition”
      John Ashbery – “Into the Dusk-Charged Air”
      Harold Rosenberg – “Liberalism and Conservatism–and Literature”
      Kenward Elmslie – “Cave in”
      Kenward Elmslie – “Marbled Chuckle in the Savannahs”
      Kenward Elmslie – “Circus Nerves and Worries”
      Barbara Guest – “Candies”
      Donna Kerness – “Insomnia VI”
      John Wieners – “The Acts of Youth”
      John Wieners – “The Mermaid’s Song”
      John Wieners – “An Anniversary of Death”
      Richard Elliott – “9 Elaborations for 26 Characters”
      Harry Mathews – “The Ring”
      Jean Boudin – “Politics”
      Robert Harson – “Lacrimae”
      John N. Morris – “Reno”
      Daisy Aldan – “Facility phrases”
      Edwin Denby – “Snoring in New York: an elegy”
      Raymond Roussel – “Locus Solus (I)” (translated by Harry Mathews)
      Michael Cain – “Lovepoetry”
      Robert Dash – “Mémoires d’autres”
      Kenneth Koch – “The Islands”
      Kenneth Koch – “The Departure from Hydra”
      Tony Whedon – “Sounds”
      Charles Edward Eaton – “Chimera”
      Charles Edward Eaton – “Unlikely Legend”
      David Beckwith – “Point”
      David Beckwith – “Abendslied”
      Michael Benedikt – “Sunlight on the Terrace”
      Michael Benedikt – “With Love”
      Michael Benedikt – “Island Life”
      James Schuyler – “April and its Forsythia”
      James Schuyler – “Grand Duo”
      James Schuyler – “Looking Forward to See Jane Real Soon”
      Mary Caroline Richards – “Holy Poems: Prayers”

Online Resources:

· Reality Studio – Locus Solus
· Georgia Tech: Curating the New York School – Locus Solus