Reports from the Bibliographic Bunker
Jed Birmingham on William S. Burroughs Collecting
Allen Ginsberg on Burroughs in “Abstraction in Poetry” from Nomad New York 10-11 (1962)
Another interesting example of recent abstract composition — so it might be called — is W.S. Burroughs’ Word. This consists of a sort of visual free-association abstract symmetry of all the images — linked together and passing into one another — that the author has conceived in the writing of the previous seven years. Burroughs has habituated himself (thru natural inclination and many year’s addiction to opiates) to thinking visually rather than verbally, so that this was a non-commital transcription into words of a succession of visual images passing in front of his mental eye. If a poet is concentrating on one specific thing — say direct, spontaneous flow — anything he says is appreciable and makes sense once you know what he is doing. All you have to do is listen to what comes next if you are interested in the man’s mind or in a general theory of actual mind.