Cid Corman (Cid Sidney Corman) Biography
(1924–2004), (Cid Sidney Corman), Origin, The Gist of ‘Origin’, Cool Melon
American editor and poet, born in Boston, Massachusetts, educated at Tufts College, the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina, and, as a Fulbright Fellow, the Sorbonne. From 1949 to 1951 he presented a series of broadcasts entitled ‘This is Poetry’ for a Boston radio station, which featured readings by leading younger American poets and initiated contact with a number of the contributors to Origin, the seminal magazine of poetry Corman founded in 1951; Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, Paul Blackburn, and other poets subsequently central to the poetic activities associated with Black Mountain College were among those whose work appeared regularly. The Gist of ‘Origin’ (1975), edited by Corman, contains a wide selection of material from the periodical. In 1956 he established the Origin publishing imprint, one of the most enduring and valuable of the small presses; from 1958 to 1979 the press was principally based in Kyoto, Japan, where he worked as a lecturer. The growing concentration and selective particularity of his own poetry during these years derived in part from his intimacy with Japanese literature, of which he has produced numerous translations, including Cool Melon (1959), versions of Basho, and Peerless Mirror: Twenty Tanka from the Manyoshu (1981). Corman's verse is firmly located in the modern American tradition stemming from the achievements of William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound. The more discursively conversational lyricism of his earlier work was superseded by the fluently direct and atmospherically evocative brevity of the poems in Sun Rock Man (1962). His many subsequent collections, some of which exemplify the possibilities of an extreme poetic minimalism, include Aegis: Selected Poems 1970–1980 (1984), and In Particular: Poems New and Selected (1986). Where Were We Now? (1991) is a collection of Corman's essays.