01 April 2007
weighing in on Dorn
in 1973 Kitaj sent me this print of Dorn. currently it's in my kitchen. so in a small way Ed is part of my everyday life. that sd let me admit that till yesterday I hadn't read a poem of his in years.
I knew Dorn for abt 3 years in the early 70s when he taught at Kent State. I recall that in our first real conversation I told him I had problems with Gunslinger because of its homophobia. (I don't own a copy so can't give specific examples from the text.) I no longer recall the particulars of his denial. but he must've put me at ease because he & Jenny came to my house for dinner & I went to their's for dinner.
by the time Donald Allen brought out The Collected Poems I think Ed had left Kent. & I'm not sure how soon after its publication I bought the book. but that collection includes a particularly vile poem calld "When the Fairies."
here are just a few of its lines:
When the fairies fly back to Santa Fe
coming in on their smelly little wings
they gesticulate and Paris is meant
and they play games like guess what
book is meant,
and what color
and order drinks no one can mix.
this insensitive piece is from 1959. so perhaps it is to be dismissd as the macho posturing of a young straight poet of an era when shrinks thot we were mentally ill. I must say that Ed treatd me well. I recall when John Wieners visitd campus Ed brought him to Special Collections & made certain we had time together.
but if he "outgrew" such feelings why did he include such a poem in the 1975 collection? & is it in the new collection that's causing such comment in the blogosphere?
I have so many unread books spilling over on the livingroom table where I assign the waiting that I doubt I'll be running to the stores for Way More West. but someday I need to read thru the body of Dorn's work with an open mind.