Ugly Duckling Presse

Complete Minimal Poems (2nd Edition)
Complete Minimal Poems (2nd Edition)

Aram Saroyan

Poetry $20
Out of Print"Anyone interested in art made from words should have it."

Long cherished in out-of-print editions, anthologies, textbooks, and more recently celebrated on the internet, Aram Saroyan’s groundbreaking minimalist poems are gathered here for the first time. Winner of the 2008 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, Complete Minimal Poems collects in a single volume the entirety of Aram Saroyan (1968), Pages (1969), The Rest (1971), "Electric Poems" (from All Stars, 1972), and a series of previously unpublished "Short Poems." These poems reveal reverberations with the work of e.e. cummings, Andy Warhol, Gertrude Stein, Donald Judd, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and Steve Reich. Now in its second edition, Complete Minimal Poems confirms Saroyan's place among the most daring and engaging figures in modern poetry. This edition is a co-publication with Primary Information and includes a new preface by Ron Silliman, who selected the first edition for the 2008 William Carlos Williams Award.

About the Author

Aram Saroyan
Photo credit: Richard Kolmar

Aram Saroyan is an internationally known poet, novelist, biographer, memoirist and playwright. Among his books of poetry are Aram Saroyan and Pages (both from Random House) and the collection, Day and Night: Bolinas Poems (Black Sparrow, 1999). Saroyan is also the author of several books of prose, including Genesis Angels: The Saga of Lew Welch and the Beat Generation; Last Rites (a book about the death of his father, the playwright and short story writer William Saroyan); Trio: The Intimate Friendship of Oona Chaplin/Carol Matthau/Gloria Vanderbilt; The Romantic (a Los Angeles Times Book Review Critics' Choice selection); Friends in the World: The Education of a Writer (a memoir); and Rancho Mirage: An American Tragedy of Manners, Madness and Murder (a true crime Literary Guild selection). The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts poetry awards (one of them for his controversial one-word poem "lighght"), Saroyan is a past president of PEN USA West. From 1996-2011 he taught in the Master of Professional Writing Program at USC. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the painter and architectural historian Gailyn Saroyan. 

Advance Praise

"This beautifully designed collection contains a poetry that shivers with itself, like something just born. Anyone interested in art made from words should have it." —Richard Hell, The New York Times
"...one of the most important works of avant-garde literature... published this century. These harrowingly-spare poems, often highly visual, frequently humorous and/or profound in their contravention of linguistic and literary presuppositions, are quite possibly capable of entirely rewriting a brain's learned attunement to workaday semiotics... Saroyan should be the very starting point for a young poet's exploration of the Art, not an afterthought... this collection is in its own class — a masterpiece." —Seth Abramson, Huffington Post
"Aram Saroyan's minimal poems were ... a scandal when they first appeared in the 1960s, foretelling not one, but several of the directions that American poetry would take in their wake, even as they too went out of print and stayed that way for over thirty years until Ugly Duckling Presse of Brooklyn seized the opportunity to make them available again.... These poems are works of great optimism, and are as radical and strong in 2008 as the day they were written." —Ron Silliman
"The range of variation from ingenious syntactic constructions, to visual punning, to the symbolic qualities of separate or rearranged (sometimes even non-syntactic) letters, suggests that Saroyan, at this juncture in his career, tended to regard each poem as a separate act, each composition as a “test” of the limits of the medium (page, type, ink, impression). By resisting, and questioning the assumptions behind the medium, he was able to exploit certain conditions and opportunities. Each of the poems in this collection says something specific, about the relationship between events in the world and the setting of words (or letters) on a page, about the relationship of the eye to the page (and to the word), about the relationships between competing or exotic loci in language, about the effect of the simultaneity of sensory events as expressed through language, etc."—Curtis Faville, Jacket Magazine