Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Fate of Scholarly Journals

The Way It Wasn't: From the Files of James Laughlin (New York: New Directions, 2006), p. 36:
Do you know Kenneth Burke? We went out there to interview him for the WCW dokuku. 88 and all bent over but what an ouragon of passion for ideas and language. He's lived on the same farm in New Jersey for over 60 years. His daughters made him put in plumbing but he still uses the old privy in summer. Pages from learned journals for bumwad. And I have shat / where that great mind sat.
WCW = William Carlos Williams
dokuku = documentary (see below)
ouragon = hurricane

Dear Mike,

My guess is that "dokuku" is Laughlinese for "documentary". You'll note from his Paris Review interview (1983) that he was involved with the series of documentaries on American poets produced by the New York Center for Visual History:

At that point they were concerned with Ezra Pound, but the entire series of "Voices & Visions" did eventually air on PBS in 1988. The 13th and last programme was devoted to William Carlos Williams. I've not seen it, though it can be watched online at no charge on the Annenberg Foundation website:

If it includes Laughlin interviewing Kenneth Burke, which (if Burke was 88) must have been in 1985, I'd say the case is closed, and even if not, JL and KB could have been left on the cutting room floor.

As ever,

Ian [Jackson]

Related posts:
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.


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