Remembering Ray Bremser

Allen Ginsberg on the above image:

Ray Bremser master poet returned to New York after eight years’ absence wrinkle-faced as before, to attend my “Rainbow Body Reading Series” at Brooklyn College & same night read at St. Mark’s Church Poetry Project. Next evening we did two poetry readings shows together for jazz-club Village Vanguard anniversary week celebrations. He left early next morning by bus, for safety from drink, to his upstate New York Utica apartment. Saw him this way the night before all these poetry scenes, at my house, February 21, 1995″

This poem (“Blood”) was recorded in New York on the 3rd of March, 1968, recorded by Carl Weissner, and published by Cold Turkey/Klacto/Sea Urchin on the poetry CD “12 Great Americans” (2006)

“Master Poet”, Ray Bremser was born on this day

Here‘s a complete upload (courtesy Cuneiform Press) of his 1964 book Poems of Madness [2021 update – sadly, not anymore!]


From Allen’s introduction:

” In Bremser poetry we have powerful curious Hoboken language, crank-blot phrasing, rhythmic motion that moves forward in sections to climaxes of feeling. Imagination shifts in and out of heard-about places in space & time, American primitive, jaiIhouse primitive, & dramatises key ideas–personal empathy with Egypt and a Pop Art approach to Platonic archtypes. Where is the truth in this? The truth here is the realized expression of emotional awareness. Poesie, a rhythmic articulation of feeling, emotional physiology vocalized. Now the piper’s piped, but had no human reward in his America – thus he goes wild, piping inhumanely.

“I passed out at this point and woke again amidst rowers •••/ I pretend to pure dislocation and end in the palace of a/great queen/whose bath has been drawn against logic ..•”

Also he’s funny; on Funk, funky. Echoes of amphetamine echolalia – the line carried out through its last mental pip-squeak of idea-rhythm. A mouth hopped up with unnatural dactyls, or some kind of many-footed Greek measure.

“The zeal of gospel, elation/ Wham/CymbaI/Wham”

The later writing is very jazzy, scatting related to Monk, Coltrane, Taylor, Charles, as welI as meth-freak head noises. Awe of the universe enters into the poetry which is a big pile-up of words some times into Hart Crane-ish clang-lines.

“Great edible crotch full of hermitage lore and excusable gloom I”

That takes a certain genius. But the real measure of inspiration is the opening up of the bardic breath & the summoning forward of rhythmic power from the breast for the sustained flight of Proclamation that climaxes The Poems of Madness

Our posting on him back in 2012 bears re-visiting.


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