Long-cherished in out-of-print editions, anthologies and text books, and more recently celebrated on the internet, Aram Saroyan’s groundbreaking concrete and minimalist poems of the 1960s are gathered together here in a single, much-needed volume. Complete Minimal Poems includes the entire contents of Aram Saroyan (Random House, 1968), Pages (Random House, 1969), The Rest (Telegraph, 1971), as well as Saroyan’s contribution, “Electric Poems,” to the anthology All Stars (Goliard-Grossman, 1972), and a sequence, “Short Poems,” which hasn’t appeared previously. With ties to the work of such writers and artists as e.e. cummings, Andy Warhol, Gertrude Stein, Donald Judd, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Steve Reich, Complete Minimal Poems confirms Aram Saroyan’s place among the most daring and engaging figures in modern poetry.
Complete Minimal Poems is the third installment of UDP's Lost Literature Series.
ARAM SAROYAN is an internationally known poet, novelist, biographer, memoirist and playwright. His poetry has been widely anthologized and appears in many textbooks. Among the collections of his poetry are Aram Saroyan and Pages (both Random House). His largest collection, Day and Night: Bolinas Poems, was published by Black Sparrow Press in 1999. Saroyan's prose books include Genesis Angels: The Saga of Lew Welch and the Beat Generation; Last Rites, a book about the death of his father, the playwright and short story writer William Saroyan; Trio: Portrait of an Intimate Friendship; The Romantic, a novel that was a Los Angeles Times Book Review Critics' Choice selection; a memoir, Friends in the World: The Education of a Writer; and the true crime Literary Guild selection Rancho Mirage: An American Tragedy of Manners, Madness and Murder.Selected essays, Starting Out in the Sixties, appeared in 2001, and Artists in Trouble: New Stories in early 2002.
The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts poetry awards (one of them for his controversial one-word poem "lighght"). Saroyan is a past president of PEN USA West and a current faculty member of the Masters of Professional Writing Program at USC. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the painter Gailyn Saroyan.
In the late 60s, when I called myself a poet, Aram was the poet I envied. Because you couldn’t be sure if he was fooling or if he had really gotten to all there is to get. Because while the rest of us tried to be verbs, like everybody told us to do, he had the nerve to stop at nouns. Because he took a deep breath and willed himself into the self-confidence of naming. Because it wasn’t ‘nouns,’ it was ‘noun,’ only one noun, because he boiled it all down to one. Because then he let himself go, he let himself stutter, he let the one go and let the one double and go out of focus: while the rest of us ran for our lives all over the place and over the page, his noun shimmered and breathed and trembled and moved—shh! softly, softly—from within. – Vito Acconci
Aram Saroyan’s minimal poems have grown to legendary status since their disappearance from bookshelves some three decades ago and their reemergence is a cause for celebration. In these elegant works, Saroyan anticipated the next thirty years of poetry: the rigor claimed by Language writing, the iconic visuality of e-poetry & web aesthetics, and a melding of process & ideas that influenced the current crop of conceptual writers. This book is now. – Kenneth Goldsmith