Cleaving Rexroth

The Divorce of King Arthur

“Traditionally American poetry
has been most prudish except
for the bohemian underworld”
—Kenneth Rexroth, American
Poetry in the Twentieth Century


The hearts of kings—beats like men
Even beatnik kings—selling short
The grey city—bends down over
Camelot—and Arthur goes mad

Rexroth forgets—Rexroth the king
Rexroth forgets—Rexroth the man
Jealousy over Marthe—consumes him
There is no shame—to a king gone mad

Guenivere leaves him—for Creeley
There are plenty—of reasons why
Three marriages—on the rocks
Soon everybody—knows why….


First Denise Levertov—says goodbye
Then Robert Duncan—and the others
Rexroth gets worse—attacks everybody
He deteriorates as a poet—hates them
Attacks Marianne Moore—Charles Olson
Even Williams Carlos Williams—Ezra Pound?

Rexroth’s obsession—with Marthe
His jealousy of Creeley—raging hate
Spreading filthy stories—orgies, etc.
Creeley as a dope fiend—a Snake
Culminating in—New American Poetry
Dropping him—from the Anthology

Rexroth the king—of SF Bohemia
Excluded by—Don Allen Warren Tallman
King Arthur—becoming persona non grata
From both Marthe—and the Muse herself
Becoming mad king—of American poetry
Divorced from himself—and the world

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