Phantom Anthems

By Robert Grenier

O Books
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art by Leslie Scalapino
Design by Robert Grenier
Edition, Year
First Edition, 1986
In Print

for William Carlos Williams

the young plum tree
like a martini
with new green
leaves how metrical

likely & con-
versant it would
have been today to
write a true imagist poem

— from Phantom Anthems

Robert Grenier
Born in 1941, Robert Grenier is a wiry/paunchy, white-haired, disaffected, formerly influential, prototypical/clean-shaven/Harvard-educated “Language Writer” (from Minnesota) become wildly innovative, “neo-Romantic”/”old-fashioned,” hand-craft-writing/image-making, scruffy, corn, beans and squash-growing/blackberry-apple jam-making/set-in-his-ways type of opinionated, “archaic”-nuthead/vociferously “correct,” “liberal”/verbal/”extemporaneous” person living in Bolinas, ... Read More

But what if you stopped—this is an idea that I’ve spoken of elsewhere—if you’d stopped time altogether, and just had the word as object in space, what could be made of that ? How could it… And could the word as object in space, by some ‘magic’ of its own, participate in the thing-like nature of the phenomenon of which it spoke, or speaks?

— Robert Grenier, conversation with Paul Stephens in BOMB


Praise for Phantom Anthems

Articulations aren’t solely linguistic categories; etymologics locates ‘articulation’ within medical discourse as physiological points of juncture, or, simply put, joints. ‘UNBENDING LEGS, agh, I’m getting /awfully / old / & / stands.’ Overarticulation, hyper-extending the joints, amplifying the punctures, dislocates language out of its socket, initiating a kind of semantic-arthritic: ‘a l w a y s h a p p e i e r.’ Grenier’s ‘scrawl’ poems emphasize the function of the fingers and knuckles while writing, occasionally shifting from the right to the left hand: a maximization of hand-writing. It’s about time poets found themselves thinking in common with the doctors (from shamanists to William Carlos Williams). Rhetoric is anatomy.

— Joshua Schuster

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