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Nothing/Doing by Cid Corman New Directions

Corman’s life:

He was born Sidney Corman in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1924, earned a B.A. from Tufts and did graduate work at the Universities of Michigan & North Carolina. Over the course of 50+ years, he served as editor of Origin & published many of the best American poets in that time. He wrote 70 volumes of poetry, four books of essays, several translations of French & Japanese poets & countless unpublished poems. He lived in Kyoto, Japan with his wife Shizumi from 1958 to his death in 2004.

Corman’s poems:

Cid Corman’s poetry is crystalline, condensed wisdom. Spare, short lines, the briefest of poems ring with koan-like resonance. As Lorine Niedecker described his work: “Corman is the poet of quiet.... Short poems on large subjects: Wonder, Contentment. But solid.” He was also one of the first to recognize the special power of radio as a conveyance for poems in aural form & began the first American poetry radio program in Boston in 1948.

Corman & Origin Press:

Wanting to make the work of poets like Creeley & Roethke available in print as well as on the air, Corman founded the journal Origin in 1951, and over the next 30 years featured the work of Black Mountain, Objectivist, Beat poets & others in the magazine & in books published by its namesake press. As a publisher he was at the center of new American poetry through the 1950s, 1960s & beyond. The list of names published by Origin is impressive: Duncan, Eigner, Levertov, Bronk, Niedecker & more.

Books by Cid Corman:


  • The Despairs (Cedar Hill Publications, 2001)
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  • Nothing/Doing (New Directions, 2000)
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  • And the Word (Coffee House Press, 1987)
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  • Root Song (Potes & Poets Press, 1987)
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  • Sun Rock Man (New Directions, 1970)
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  • Word for Word: Essays on the Arts of Language (David R. Godine, 1977)
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  • Where Were We Now: Essays & Postscriptum (Small Press Distribution, 1991)
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