Cover image for Contact highs : selected poems, 1957-1987
Title:
Contact highs : selected poems, 1957-1987
Author:
Ansen, Alan.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Elmwood Park, IL, USA : Dalkey Archive Press, [1989]

©1989
Physical Description:
xxxiv, 213 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780916583446

9780916583453
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
PS3551.N7145 C66 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

"Alan Ansen's first book," James Merrill has noted, "Disorderly Houses (1961), dedicated to both W. H. Auden and William Burroughs, was also his last to be published commercially. Since then this prolific and unpredictable poet's work has been available only in editions of his own devising, distributed to friends at his own caprice. As one of the happy few, I can report that his gifts remain as brightly unnerving as ever."Though perhaps best known as the model for some of the most flamboyant characters in Beat fiction (Rollo Greb in Kerouac's On the Road, A. J. in Burroughs's Naked Lunch, Dad Deform in Corso's American Express) and as Auden's secretary (he helped Auden with the syllabification of The Age of Anxiety), Alan Ansen is an accomplished poet in his own right. Having affinities with both the Beats and the New York school of poets, Ansen fuses Beat sensibility with formalist rigor. Contact Highs is the first comprehensive collection of his poetry, and includes a biographical introduction, an afterword by poet Rachel Hadas, and a bibliography of Ansen's elusive works.


Reviews 6

Booklist Review

In the role of a Beat hedonist, he appeared in William Burroughs' Naked Lunch as AJ and in Kerouac's On the Road as Rollo Greb. But Alan Ansen was no uneducated junkie; he was W.20H.20Auden's secretary and corrected his syllabification. Ansen is a fascinating juncture of opposites: a self-described "gentle, privileged poet," he wrote odes to heroin; as American as Walt Whitman, he has lived most of his life in Athens; once a rising literary star, he now publishes mainly in tiny, self-funded editions. Ansen's poetry similarly joins Apollonian reserve and formal skill to Dionysiac drug taking and homoeroticism. Between those poles, however, he creates a space of truly living poetry. Recommended for large poetry collections. --Pat Monaghan


Publisher's Weekly Review

This collection, gathering 30 years of work by American expatriate Ansen ( Disorderly Houses ), careens in voice from a tone of bravado--an unwavering insistence on seeing the universe in all its mockery and injustice--to one of unabashed tenderness. And such conflict implies the poetry's central tension: a desire to be immersed in life's drama, rather than merely to judge it. Ansen, who has lived in Greece for the past 25 years, is a vivid creator of worlds with words, but never too sober in his verbal wizardry. Sly and wild in the manner of Gregory Corso or Allen Ginsberg, the poet marries exultant anarchy to traditional forms. Dismissing ``shameless lyrists'' who ``warble their hearts' content,''sic, 95 like an ``eerie oddity'' Ansen ``retails his uniqueness'' with some bitterness but more brio, and many readers will be grateful. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Though relatively unknown, Ansen has been a real actor in literary history for the past 30 years. As amanuensis to Auden, his origins are steeped in formalism. His subsequent introduction to Ginsberg and company radically altered his course. A thinly disguised figure in several of Kerouac's novels, he did drugs with Corso and was very close to Burroughs, and his poetry reflects this wonderfully checkered past. The styles range from the drug-induced ``Heroin'' through a sestina dedicated to Ashbery to Audenesque formalism that rhymes. Whatever the styles, the cadences are powerfully relentless and informed by an intellectual complexity rare today. As witty as O'Hara, Ansen also plunges into the depths of the human condition. This may be one of the more significant poetry publications of the decade; four stars.-- Ivan Arguelles, Univ. of California Lib., Berkeley (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

In the role of a Beat hedonist, he appeared in William Burroughs' Naked Lunch as AJ and in Kerouac's On the Road as Rollo Greb. But Alan Ansen was no uneducated junkie; he was W.20H.20Auden's secretary and corrected his syllabification. Ansen is a fascinating juncture of opposites: a self-described "gentle, privileged poet," he wrote odes to heroin; as American as Walt Whitman, he has lived most of his life in Athens; once a rising literary star, he now publishes mainly in tiny, self-funded editions. Ansen's poetry similarly joins Apollonian reserve and formal skill to Dionysiac drug taking and homoeroticism. Between those poles, however, he creates a space of truly living poetry. Recommended for large poetry collections. --Pat Monaghan


Publisher's Weekly Review

This collection, gathering 30 years of work by American expatriate Ansen ( Disorderly Houses ), careens in voice from a tone of bravado--an unwavering insistence on seeing the universe in all its mockery and injustice--to one of unabashed tenderness. And such conflict implies the poetry's central tension: a desire to be immersed in life's drama, rather than merely to judge it. Ansen, who has lived in Greece for the past 25 years, is a vivid creator of worlds with words, but never too sober in his verbal wizardry. Sly and wild in the manner of Gregory Corso or Allen Ginsberg, the poet marries exultant anarchy to traditional forms. Dismissing ``shameless lyrists'' who ``warble their hearts' content,''sic, 95 like an ``eerie oddity'' Ansen ``retails his uniqueness'' with some bitterness but more brio, and many readers will be grateful. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Though relatively unknown, Ansen has been a real actor in literary history for the past 30 years. As amanuensis to Auden, his origins are steeped in formalism. His subsequent introduction to Ginsberg and company radically altered his course. A thinly disguised figure in several of Kerouac's novels, he did drugs with Corso and was very close to Burroughs, and his poetry reflects this wonderfully checkered past. The styles range from the drug-induced ``Heroin'' through a sestina dedicated to Ashbery to Audenesque formalism that rhymes. Whatever the styles, the cadences are powerfully relentless and informed by an intellectual complexity rare today. As witty as O'Hara, Ansen also plunges into the depths of the human condition. This may be one of the more significant poetry publications of the decade; four stars.-- Ivan Arguelles, Univ. of California Lib., Berkeley (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.