1. Richard Wilbur, "Love Calls Us to the Things of this World," Things of This World (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1956), pp. 5-6.
2. According to Jed Rasula's very useful table of anthology appearances between 1945 and 1990, Wilbur is Number 1, his inclusion in seventy anthologies surpassing even the sixty-seven of Robert Lowell. See Rasula, The American Poetry Wax Museum: Reality Effects, 1940-1990 (Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 1996), p. 509. This text, subsequently cited as WM, is indispensable for anyone studying the poetics of the period.
3. Richard Wilbur, in Poets in Progress (1966); rpt. in Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, Modern Poems: A Norton Introduction, 2d ed. (New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1973), p. 575, note 6.
4. See The Contemporary Poet as Artist and Critic: Eight Symposia ed. Anthony Ostroff (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Co., 1964), pp. 2-21. Subsequently cited in the text as AO.
5. See Sarah Greenough, "Fragments that Make a Whole Meaning in Photographic Sequences," in Sarah Greenough and Philip Brookman (eds.), Robert Frank (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1994), p. 112. This exhibition catalogue subsequently cited as RF.
6. John Brumfield, "'The Americans' and The Americans," Afterimage, 8, no. 1-2 (Summer 1980): 8-15, p. 10..
7. Carl Sandburg, Preface, The Family of Man. The greatest photographic exhibition of all time--503 pictures from 68 countries--created by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1955), unpaginated.
8. William Butts (ed.), Conversations with Richard Wilbur (Jackson and London: University press of Mississippi, 1990), p.
9. Reuben Arthur Brower, The Fields of Light: An Experiment in Critical Reading (New York: Oxford University press, 1951), pp. 31-41.
10. "The war was over," Frank later recalled, "and I wanted to get out of Switzerland. I didn't want to build my future there. The country was too closed, too small for me." Soon after his arrival in 1947, he wrote his parents, "this country is really a free country. A person can do what he wants. Nobody asks to see your identification papers." See Martin Gasser, "Zurich to New York: 'Robert Frank, Swiss, unobtrusive, nice. . .'," in RF 46-47.
11. Mistrust of "Tricky Dick" is a central theme of political articles in 1956. See, for example, "Selig S. Harrison, "The Old Guard's Young Pretender," The New Republic, August 30; "Did Ike really want Nixon?", Colliers, 26 October.
12. The equivalent today would be about $4,000.
13. For this story, , see Gordon Ball (ed.), Allen Ginsberg, Journals Mid-Fifties 1954-1958 (New York: Harper Collins, 1995), pp. 3-7; James E. B. Breslin, From Modern to Contemporary: American Poetry 1945-1965 (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1984), pp. 94-95. Subsequently cited in the text as JEB.
14. "Craft Interview with Richard Wilbur" (1972), in The Craft of Poetry: Interviews from The New York Quarterly, ed. William Packard (New York: Doubleday, 1974), pp. 183-84.
15. The art world was somewhat different. Robert Motherwell's The Dada Painters and Poets had been published by Wittenborn in 1951 and had a great influence on the New York painters themselves. But the literary little magazines moved on a different track.
16. John Brumfield, "The Americans," Afterimage, p. 7.
17. Allen Ginsberg, "Robert Frank to 1985--A Man," in Anne Wilkes Tucker and Philip Brookman, Robert Frank: New York to Nova Scotia. Exhibition catalogue, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1986, p. 74.
18. O'Hara dated most of his manuscripts carefully. According to Donald Allen's notes for The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara (1971; Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1995), the poems on pages 239-64 all date from 1956. Among these, we find such key poems as "To John Wieners," "In Memory of my Feelings," "Digression on Number 1, 1948," and "Why I am not a Painter," as well as "A Step Away from Them," which is discussed below. The Collected Poems is subsequently cited as FOH.
19. Allen Ginsberg, "Howl," Collected Poems 1947-1980 (New York: Harper & Row, 1984), p. 126. Subsequently cited in the text as AGCP. "Howl" first appeared in Howl and Other Poems, The Pocket Poet Series Number 4 (San Francisco, City Lights, 1956).
20. AGCP 146. "America" first appeared in Howl (City Lights), pp. 31-34.
21. Warren Tallman, "Mad Song: Allen Ginsberg's San Francisco Poems," Open Letter, 3d ser. (Winter 1976-77); rpt. in Lewis Hyde (ed.), On The Poetry of Allen Ginsberg (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1984), p. 384.
22. The phrase is Warren Tallman's; see "Mad Song," p. 384.
23. FOH 257-58.. The poem is dated August 16, 1956 and was first published in Evergreen Review 1, no. 3 (1957).
24. I have commented on the specific stylistic traits in this and related poems in Frank O'Hara: Poet Among Painters (New York: George Braziller, 1977), pp. 124-39. Subsequently cited as PAP.
25. For a discussion of O'Hara's "Personism: a Manifesto," see PAP 1-30, 135-39; cf. Charles Altieri, "Varieties of Immanentist Expression," Enlarging the Temple: New Directions in American Poetry During the 1960s (Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 1979), pp. 108-22.
26. See, for example, William Atwood, "Fear Underlies the Conflict," Look, 3 April 1956, p. 27.
27. Ashbery's first book, Turandot and other Poems, was really a paper-covered pamphlet published by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1950 in an edition of 300 copies. For bibliographical information, See David K. Kermani, John Ashbery: A Comprehensive Bibliography (New York and London: Garland Publishing Company, 1976). In an unpublished interview of 1974, Ashbery gave Kermani an account of how Auden happened to award the Yale Younger Poets Prize to Some Trees, although, so Ashbery believes, he really didn't like it very much (see Kermani, p. 6).
28. see Brad Gooch, City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993), p. 190.
29. John Ashbery, Selected Poems (New York: Viking, 1983), p. 3. Subsequently cited as JA.
30. See Kenyon Review, 18, no. 2 (Spring 1956): 270-75. "Two Scenes" is on pp. 272-73.