Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Anselm Hollo

Anselm Hollo was born and raised in Helsinki, Finland. He worked as a poet, translator, editor and journalist in Sweden, Germany, and Austria before coming to the US in 1966.

He took up teaching positions at SUNY Buffalo and the Writers' Workshop in Iowa City where he first met Ted Berrigan with whom he remained very close friends. The Beat movement and New York School was certainly a major influence on Hollo’s writing: even before coming to the US he had translated Ginsberg into Finnish. Another important influence was however William Carlos Williams – another poet he had translated previously. As Paul Hoover notes in the anthology: “Hollo’s work privileges the details of everyday life. He is adept at capturing isolated moments of perception.” A tendency he shares with both Williams, as well as his fellow poets such as Philip Whalen and Berrigan. “Often whimsical and gently satirical in tone, Hollo’s poems are open-ended, valuing an ongoing human attentiveness rather than rejecting closure on the basis of theory.” (Hoover)

Hollo taught creative writing at a wide range of different institutions across the US, including the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, where he held the rank of Full Professor since 1985. Hollo’s many honours and awards included a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, grants from the Fund for Poetry, the Government of Finland’s Distinguished Foreign Translator’s Award, and the Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative American Poetry. Hollo lived with his wife, the artist Jane Dalrymple-Hollo, in Boulder until his death in 2013.


My below poem is a response to Hollo’s poem entitled “The Dream of Instant Total Representation”. Taking a look at the idea of possible political change and new beginnings, it works with found text I gathered from Twitter under #Greece.

~ - ~

The Dream of Instant Total Revolution

Isn’t there an extra second added today

3 hours before the payment deadline

the rundown confederate crash help

makes history

might crowd funding be the answer?

you can find the Paypal link below

the total debt split across all citizens

is nearly thirty thousand per head

storm clouds literally over the capital

capital or capital

early July heatwave

change – change part 28

the talks continue

litter bins and boarded windows in every town

bailout for bailout for bailout for out

what is happening here is what they have done to

many poorer nations through structural

adjustment on behalf of corporate capital

capital or capital

the talks continue

not often - but in these days I regret

that I did not learn to speak the ancient language

by the time the country closes its banks

few hedge funds had much direct hold

we stand by the people of Greece

default in 2 hours

we stand by the people of Greece

as Fitch downgrades

further into junk status

from ccc to cc plus

we stand

crowds gathering

we stand


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