18 October 2010

Classic Mags: MAPS

In anticipation of a larger feature on the new selected poems of John Taggart, I present evidence that I do in fact own the very first issue of MAPS! If I'm not mistaken, MAPS was inaugurated at Earlham College in 1965 when Taggart was but an undergraduate. Featuring the tagline "One draws a map to show where one is," Taggart clearly situated himself on a very particular post-objectivist map pretty early in his career. This issue features work by Paul Blackburn, Clayton Eshlemen, and Kenneth Irby, along with a short poem by Taggart after Ornette Coleman (a practice, writing after/with jazz musicians, that finds pride of place in his mature work). Here's Taggart's first editorial statement (he must have been, like, 23 at the time?!):

In his Critique of Pure Reason Kant writes of the need for making new maps of man's consciousness now, and of the past as seen from that now. The maps would be of those regions just discovered, somewhat known, but not to the extent of the older areas or of the most recent projections, MAPS, then, takes its title and purpose from Kant's observation. These poems are not on the furthermost borders of the avant-garde. They are of the now in the continuum sense of "being"--eyes open, perhaps screaming, but not leaping out of the present--and, occasionally, they are of the past as renovated by those open eyes.

These poets are of all ages and come from everywhere. The attempt has been made to shape a vital synthesis of several perspectives to avoid the monotonous sameness of various in-groups whose actions share the shrilling triviality of Medieval schoolmen.

John Taggart

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