March 19, 2013

Ed Dorn

Ed Dorn [USA]
Ed Dorn was born, Edward Merton Dorn, on April 2, 1929 in Villa Grove, Illinois. Growing up during the Great Depression, Dorn and his family lived in poverty, he attending a one-room schoolhouse until high school. He studied at the University of Illinois and at Black Mountain College from 1950-1955, coming to contact at Black Mountain with his major poetic influence, Charles Olson. He also became acquainted with Robert Creeley and others at the college.    
     In 1951, Dorn traveled to the Pacific Northwest, performing manual labor as he went. It was there he met his first wife, Helene, returning to school in late 1954. After graduating and more travels, Dorn and his family settled in Washington state, where he wrote his autobiographical fiction By the Sound (published as Rites of Passage).
     In 1961 he was hired as a teacher at Idaho State University in Pocatello, where he edited and published the magazine Wild Dog, a published his first book of poetry, The Newly Fallen, on LeRoi Jones’s/Amari Baraka’s Totem Press (1961). In 1965, with photographer Leroy Lucas, Dorn was commissioned by William Morrow & Co. publishing house to spend the summer on an Indian reservation to write a book, The Shoshoneans.
     That same year Dorn was invited by British poet and scholar Donald Davie to join the faculty of the Literature Department as a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Essex in England. Over the next five years the poet taught in England, publishing several books, including the first volume of his famed Gunslinger series. With Gordon Brotherston he worked on translations from Latin American works, including poems by José Emilio Pacheco and Cesar Vallejo. He also became a close friend of British poet J. H. Prynne. There he also met his second wife, Jennifer Dunbar Dorn.
    Returning to the United States in early 1970s, he taught at several universities across the country, while continuing to write new work. In San Francisco he collaborated with the printer and artist Holbrook Teter and Michael Myers on a number projects, including the newspaper Bean News and the comic book formatted Recollections of Gran Apacheria.
     In 1977 he accepted a position at the University of Colorado in Boulder, directing the Creative Writing Program and editing the literary newspaper Rolling Stock with his wife. During the 1990s he participated in a teaching exchange with Paul Valery at the University of Montpellier and began working on Languedoc Variorum: A Defense of Heresy and Heretics.
     Although Dorn’s Gunslinger is generally considered his major work, he published several other important collections, including The Collected Poems: 1956-1974, Abhorrences (1989), and Way More West: New and Selected Poems, published posthumously.
     Dorn died on pancreatic cancer in December 1999 in Denver, Colorado.


The Newly Fallen (New York: Totem Press, 1961); Hands Up! (New York: Totem Press, 1964); From Gloucester Out (London: Matrix Press, 1964); Idaho Out (London: Fulcrum Press, 1965); Geography (London: Fulcrum Press, 1965); The North Atlantic Turbine (London: Fulcrum Press, 1967); Gunslinger (Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1968); Gunslinger: Book II (Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1969); The Midwest Is That Space Between Buffalo Statler and the Lawrence Eldridge (T. Williams, 1969); The Cosmology of Finding Your Spot (Cottonwood, 1969); Twenty-four Love Songs (West Newbury, Massachusetts: Frontier Press, 1970); Gunslinger I and II (London: Fulcrum Press, 1970); Songs Set Two: A Short Count (West Newbury Press, Massachusetts: Frontier Press, 1970); The Cycle (West Newbury, Massachusetts: Frontier Press, 1971); A Poem Called Alexander Hamilton (Lawrence, Kansas: Tansy/Peg Leg Press, 1971); Spectrum Breadown: A Mircobook (Clarkson, New York: Athanor Books, 1971); The Hamadryas Baboon at the Lincoln Park Zoo (Wine Press); Gunslinger, Book III: The Winterbook, Prologue to the Great Book IV Kornerstone (West Newbury, Massachusetts: Frontier Press, 1972); Recollections of Gran Apacheria (San Francisco: Turtle Island, 1974); Slinger (containing Gunslinger, Books I-IV and The Cycle (Berkeley, California: Wingbow Press, 1974); Manchester Square (with Jennifer Dunbar) (London: Permanent Press, 1975); Collected Poems: 1956-1974 (Bolinas, California: Four Seasons Foundation, 1975); Hello, La Jolla (Berkeley, California: Wingbow Press, 1978); Selected Poems, ed. by Donald Allen (Bolinas, California: Grey Fox Press, 1978); Yellow Lola (Cadmus Editions, 1981); Captain Jack’s Chaps—Houston/MLA (Madison, Wisconsin: Black Mesa Press, 1983); Abhorrences (Santa Rosa, California: Black Sparrow Press, 1989); The Denver Landing (Uprising Press, 1993); High West Rendezvous: A Sampler (1996); Chemo Sábe (Limberlos Press, 2001); Way More West: New and Selected Poems, ed. by Michael Rothenberg (New York: Penguin, 2007); Westward Haut  (Etruscan Books, 2012); Collected Poems (Manchester, England: Carcanet Press, 2012)

For a selection of Ed Dorn reading from his poetry, go here:

 For poems and articles about Ed Dorn, go here:

No comments: