For more than fifty years, in literary circles certainly, “Buffalo” has signaled not just the rust belt city in western New York but an active center for poetry and speculative poetics in America. Beginning in 1963 with the arrival on campus of Charles Olson, followed a few years later by Robert Creeley, the State University of New York at Buffalo was the academic home for transgressive literary thought and expansive poetries and fictions. At Buffalo, a collection of memorial pieces and interviews, traces this development from the Olson years and Creeley’s long tenure through the founding in 1991 by Creeley and Susan Howe of the Poetics Program and the eventual creation of the Electronic Poetry Center and Charles Bernstein’s Electronic Poetry List.
Today, under the guidance of Myung Mi Kim, the program continues to thrive as part of the expanded network of poetic activities around the city. There is a great deal of documentary material and historical detail here. Best, though, are the personal accounts by faculty and students of the challenging, even dizzying, literary and intellectual activity that made Buffalo Buffalo.