Krishna Poems

by Herschel Silverman
(1970)
   Herschel Silverman’s first collection remains an undiscovered minor classic of Beat poetry. Although the “big” Beats have sometimes been criticized as media creations or publicity junkies, there is little recognition that there was a community of poets who followed in their wake and who essentially remain marginal figures. Unlike the second generation of New York School poets, who carved out distinct identities away from their elders, second-generation Beat poets were vastly overshadowed by allen ginsberg, gregory corso, lawrence ferlinghetti, gary snyder, and michael mcclure. Poets such as ray bremser and jack micheline were generally found to be too “crude” and/or “anti-intellectual” to be considered by either the mainstream or the alternative poetries dominated in the 1960s by the disciples and friends of Charles Olson.
   Krishna Poems were written in the mid- to late 1960s and were published in 1970. They are fanciful excursions that were written and published during a period where the Vietnam War generated mountains of angry words from poets all across America. Silverman, perhaps the only published American poet to have served during World War II and the Korean War, responds to the absurdity of war with his own, albeit nonlethal, buckshots of whimsy.
   it’s Krishna
   who visits me
   with warm midnight lips
   on my forehead,
   who without words
   speaks my thoughts
   and desires,
   and
   suggests
   i construct a poem
   in love
   for my children

Encyclopedia of Beat Literature. . 2014.

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