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Bean Newton's Experimental Mode
by E.W. Wilder

There has been increasing debate amongst Bean Newton scholars both here and abroad about the ultimate origins of Newton's experimental poems. The leading notion is that it had to be the result of psychoactive substances of some kind. Most reasoning along this line derives from the fact that Newton had no (or very little--there is evidence of his having attended one undergraduate Creative Writing workshop) formal training in poetry. How, critics reason, could someone produce such remarkable work without the guidance of an established poetic voice guiding him along? How could he have even put two words together without the presence of at least an MFA in Creative Writing sharing the grace of the degree?

These are certainly vexing questions and ones far beyond the reach of a mere introduction like this one. Suffice it to say, though, that his experimental work might provide some insight. It is possible, although not probable, that Newton's constant and heartfelt experimentation might have accidentally caused him to write some actual poems. One runs into problems like the proverbial infinite number of monkeys writing Shakespeare when one postulates this, but The Bard's untutored roughness itself tends to lend credence to the theory presented here. We can only wish that DweeMs such as Shakespeare could have achieved the kind of formalistic perfection of, say, Molly Peacock to help establish some kind of tradition.

At any rate, Newton's methodology, however unorthodox and inadvisable, can be easily seen in the following selections.

Bean Newton's Experimental Mode (Introduction by E. W. Wilder)
Mertz
That's Not an Acorn, Daddy
An Answer to a Question Burroughs Never Asked