More than 400 pages of Edward Dorn’s previously uncollected poetry gleaned from ephemera, correspondence, and notebooks housed at numerous archives in the United States and the UK are gathered here in Derelict Air. From Dorn’s first Beat poems in 1952 and visionary juvenalia from his study at Black Mountain to the long poems that were central to the development of the British Poetry Revival and translations of native texts from the Mayans and Aztecs, the transatlantic roots of Dorn’s anticapitalism are fully visible. Whereas Dorn’s Collected Poems exhibits the poet that he became, Derelict Air reflects a career of becoming, full of unacknowledged successes in the diverse forms of the lyric, the pronouncement, the mock-epic, and the epigram. Recovering four lost books, this collection significantly expands Dorn’s oeuvre, including impassioned outbursts written during the Cuban missile crisis, illustrated bucolics for an unfinished children’s book, “confetti poems” meant to shower the 1968 DNC, outtakes from his sci-fi epic Gunslinger, and a relentless extension of his 1990s “stock ticker.” Complete with scholarly endnotes, manuscript facsimiles, and a cover by the painter Raymond Obermayr, this substantial offering of Edward Dorn’s poetry is a must-have for any reader interested in postwar American modernism.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.90(d)|
About the Author
Edward Dorn was a poet whose collections include Chemo Sábe, Gunslinger, and Way More West, among many others. He was a professor at Essex University, the University of Colorado–Boulder, and the University of Idaho. He is the author of more than 40 books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation. Justin Katko is a poet who runs the press Critical Documents. Kyle Waugh is the coeditor of The Intent On: The Collected Poems of Kenneth Irby, 1962–2006. He lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
From Collected Out
By Edward Dorn, Justin Katko, Kyle Waugh
Enitharmon PressCopyright © 2015 Jennifer Dunbar Dorn
All rights reserved.
The bleat of time
this room wet
with the enchantment
of decayed passion
A fragmentary note
upon that white table
chants all our concurrent
If you come again,
it won't be the same,
When you return to me down those
wooden steps I lately sit under
what dimension can you have of
human selection can you manage
the severe course an iron railing
and vanishing steps demand viewed
from this spice shop with
its coriander spreading, faintly,
an account of obvious differences?
the bathroom in
on the third floor
has a window the shape of
a parallelogram, two
And across the window,
the lower half section
before we came so
that light comes in, unobstructedly,
from the upper half, only,
even though the window stands
3 floors up and
opens on a steep roof.
Pieces of junk
Pieces of Junk
[GIVE THEM THE STATISTICS OF DEATH]
Give them the statistics of death
so that the remembrance may
always stick in the charred throat
and lie there throbbing the disaster of a
too barren beginning.
But do not cast me into the dark
closet again or
beat me for running nude down
the black oil road that first time
clutched the handles
from the shoulders,
his black motorcycle flinching.
And behind him bounced
doggedly the trailer bearing
higher, a like cycle,
He sits in his swively
The ever-ready smile smiling
For Mr. Bruce's a
Bridged city under fog-white hills
The weeks were love and ended our eyes turning
Away past silence, endurable, the way damp soil tills.
In front of October, already, love was slower burning.
Wakeless suspension, her absence the agent of fever,
You gave the meaning of newspapers, and cleared the mist,
Silently plaguing like a dress I can't remember
As i held back love with gripped fist.
Sirocco, and even the week-ends spent
The mental move must precede suitcases packed
Standing eternally within this dolmen we bent
Two memories and me gazing into plaster cracked.
Give time the time to rewind cells
Another meeting will arrange new hells.
DECORUM ON A GREY DAY
In weightless light grey enough & sourceless
Only for luminous holes on the horizon,
Gulls make languid circles
Black as condors with the perfect sham,
An audience of winter stranded
Land birds filagreed in roosts.
While the gulls reel toward the bay & sound
Their audience has come & gone
Seeking various perches for no reason,
But outlasting the gulls with silence.
Just past the shifting noon light coming
Still from the bay a tranced steamer
Arrives from the pacific east so gulls
Again have left
the whole air
To a stiff airplane in intent line
Caged in glass determination.
dupe gravity with no force:
a length rumbled midair
to certain restless changes
within locusless winds
slowly arrived from the tight
sea surface a static
gloss to thwart extenuating wings
making the deception not flight
but dance of another sort
abrupt as dawn on the moon.
A DERELICT AIR
A sharp green counter
was where she sat
& her color was
velvet it darkened
just right, like love
The blues, so slowly chant
a memorial counter-charm
keyed with coffee odors
yellowed during 78 whirls
of revealed lacquer.
Still her dark hips
shift for cloth necessities
with no hints of malediction
for the blues demand space
as temporal as a snowman,
or marimba sounds.
THE RIGHTING OF THE CAT
The chill and blues and those tattoos.
Shadows and the leaves turned up.
New socks in box, the labels blue,
and yellow fit to embarrass.
Leave them there forever.
Now, Sun, and
a magazine in which Clerk Maxwell demonstrates
that a cat rights herself, from two inches!
Mother, come to think of it, you could leave
those goddamn socks & shorts home, you could
Offer at least the advantages Clerk had.
My Dear Sir,
did you get in your laundry argyles
of oval curves made with needle and thread
No no: you sent thread parabolas. But then
your father was interested in mechanical contrivances.
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
This greek &
"Flowers dioecious; the sterile in axillary
compound racemes of panicles, with 5 sepals
& 5 drooping stamens"
And then you know what love is
but not quite
the false Asphodel —
or less spreading, persistent
the sepals concave, oblong, without
A cold reflection:
"not begun, done in" like a cubed steak
like me, with too much breeding and no blood
but no frigging breeding either,
but what I have will follow:
Eurylochus ran back to the ship
empty handed, flat footed, panting
" ? a distinction between the perfection
that is from a man's combat with himself
and that which is from a combat with
Cordelia "Nothing, my lord
" ? the struggle to come at Truth takes away
our pity, and the struggle to overcome our passions
This is well bred. This is polite,
This moral I will not be run to relief by
if I sit all day
A theory of the economy of sleep —
"sleep from five in the afternoon
to 9:30, read very hard from 10 to 1
exercise by running along the corridors
and up and down stairs from 2 to 2:30,
sleep again from 2:30 to 7."
keep the window shut when it isn't in use
" the word in your mouth until it wants out
anticipate his leaving in order to conduct your own
" idleness in order to turn away
The last, a trick.
Walk walk walk
love is not in you, not in me, the lips give
give on tissure a print, your eyes downcast, wear
shorts you got in the mail, your new socks
leave the tags on, it was so sweet of you to clothe
me to hide my unbalanced mind,
so sweet of me to wear them to go with my beard,
at this point I'll wear anything.
I'll give anything
Cordelia's moral tone to Edmond's
responsibility and you'll have a respectable
Cordelia, not a craftier Edmond
A man / circumstance = a variety of man
2 men / the same circumstance = tennis
the mountains don't make of the earth
but you do, the most
you, the mouse
right in your own house
the mountains lunge,
you won't come out and
tennis, you don't have a
circumstance in the middle with backspin
I think that I shall burn the next box you send me
just from the awful sore limp it gives me to get
a thing from you, don't think of me damn you, I forbid
that you think of me, don't send me a needle and
if my clothes drop off the sooner
with it right in us,
the pubescent, roughish, ball
diameter 2½ inches
stuck near whatever ...
in the bag.
when you meet a man how
the hell do you determine his rank?
"I HAVE GENTS IN THE BOTTLE
YOU WILL NOTICE IN MY LEFT HAND
THE DISTILLED RESIDUE OF YOUR
WHILE IN MY RIGHT I HAVE THE
FUTURE-PAST OF YOUR MODUS
WHICH BY FORCE OF MY CONFIDENCE
I SHALL NOW MIX BEFORE YOUR
REPORT FROM WASHINGTON: MARCH
and being pitched against
the door jambs of life with a capital
Germs traveling unheard of distances
Spreading through Ida (ho
One's bowels are loose
They travel by mouth.
We've had word
Germs are motored
is what I heard.
If they came over the mountains
at this season
they must have had ice-picks and crampons
even the passes are clogged.
March!, is the cruelest month
The spectres of children
attaching great black bats
to strings. Barking winds attack the hemlocks
on the hill back of my house. Bending
Alder saplings over the slate cliffs.
Screaming against the red Purple yellow and orange
crocus rows in the commercial plots.
Influenza! Coming from Idaho.
March! The top sergeant of the germs.
A visitation from an employer.
John. Brought his child Raymond.
A bug. What they call germs.
A horrible malady was he.
His main action was grinning backed up
by screaming. Father John brought him to the house
today and for a notion hit him full
in the smacker. Screaming like a louse.
You could have heard him in the windy mountains.
Blasted flat against the door-jamb a hard-shelled bug
fell on his piercing opened mug.
Legs would have been an accomplishment.
The basic four. Insects are prelimited
as to size and motility.
Thank God there are no dangerous snakes
In Western Washington. Altho the news
is full of slugs and snails; makes
contractile, motored, creatures occupy
of the world
my toggenburg goat
Have I not
their faces, the flash
the whole grey row
many times today
like a yearly
The bleeting nan ?
with torus eyes.
Carl Gustav Jung
the venetian blinded room
of my head,
seeks to manipulate
the shutter cords,
* * *
The Great Ones,
Heart, forthwith desert
in it, the head-room —
in my own manner
a Great One,
arent in it either ...
But I hear
despair, a dollars worth
the heady world
We didnt mean it
We poorling pseudo-
Moderns, really didnt
mean to be
(get enough of
us together &
we'll go off
with sophisticated feet
no passage back
to the hinterland
to the mechanick
out of a god
of any quality —
What we great ones
move so much by.
Forgive me, are moved thereby ?)
Wreck O my filthy mind
I scream too,
until I differentiate
because I too
* * *
They are worthless.
The man in the pulpit
end a poem like that
deserting the horde
of my sin
THE POET SPENDS A DAY AT THE DUMP
(MT. VERNON, APRIL 20
sea-gulls, glaucous wings
slight impression of breeding
in the advanced season, suspicious
flounderings, where Spring
is an obvious hungup dog.
Johnny & me
ogres of a sortilege,
keeping, as I saw with surprise
the gulls from their browse
of grapefruit, astir in the air ...
Gulls, ponderous in flight
gawkily the bob
the knob of the head socketed, wooden
but for the glide
slid, grace slipping into what
one nearly cant look at ? (
The rooster! Johnny says
for your mantle?
No No laughs I nor old beds
nor broken chicken coops
These hardly worn house-shoes I said
are good yet, I'll bet you can wear them
but he wore them not
Walked off grinning, emptying boxes
Ho Ho paradoxes of the daily confetti of Man
the ash can
here's a span of toy mules
of tiny tools, cast away rules
from an office, a broken dish
something of a fish, the whole
alliteration of creation.
What do you find, Johnny m'boy
what's found. A witch?
on a green motorcycle, a black broom aflying
a witch on an orange wheeled M'cycle
* * *
MacBeth hovers over the American dump
* * * *
The decayed grapefruit Sun
soundward, late afternoon
the gulls going home, wards
of the city no more
home to the barnacle spun shore.
Home! for us
Johnny boy ...
another toy, for the kids?
a man could pick his life out ahere
could shake the dear boxes of life
What a sun, what nonsense,
Here am I
the only poet in a thousand miles
Not proper I should be at the city
with Fate hanging
back of my rump
before I die:
at madness, world wide
delirium, a picnic of small
something the species'll drop dead at
and a sack of jingling tricks
for the melancholick, the pretty
of three eyed rats, something
friends have not recommended.
Unabashed, for once, in the face
and of failing to succeed,
maintain my roving household.
Kaadrror! Welcome in Abyssinia without
credentials, my merits uncovered slowly,
and after many surprises and set-backs.
Then, my slightly antique desires
resolved, as in obscure lands,
on spits, of lonely sand,
I shed a famously recorded tear
for World Wide Delirium.
Finally, something quite sentimental
so the species'll chatter until dawn
on the day I was quartered and drawn.
AN IDEA OF PERFECTION
Why, in the world
could I want loneliness revealed?
could I want
in my ear
the wind hollow!
The Sun, God's Palm?
Apple tree leaves in the wind
my psalm ...
THE FAIR RELIEF
the first misanthropic.
His inslung shoulders,
his stringhair, and
oh, the hell with it.
His very sharp nose.
Yah, his eyes.
They put every
Told me he
tried last year
in the blue season
to get stove oil
from a merchant
Apropos of nothing
a good clean thief.
A nice blend of grief
a fair relief
in a streetfull
THE GIRLS IN THE BANK
Are so lovely
framed in the white door.
The All O'clock sun.
Curb, parking meters, bums.
There's Cleaning Power
here, their skins reflect it.
After a breath of air
they walk away. In
they've green & gray money.
One feels perverse.
can't get the numbers
on the bills, out of one's
VILE, THOT TIMOTHY, LIKE I
On the steps of the Labor Temple
greater than those old
Corinthian rapers knew
their antechristian labor
on the steps of that city.
Vile, thot Timothy, and I
with our yearning eyes
Vile, vile blunt Corinth
and vast at that, your sin
tho apparently anyone
could, who wanted it.
Ah, to be there now, getting laid
anywhere but the Labor Temple
like a coed,
eager for a summer job.
How we sat
in the middle
of off-beach weeds
How we sat
off-shore at landward
exchanged six years
without turning our heads.
Kelp is for children.
Has a head, is a whip.
Marriage is a mirage
is a ship.
Old wheels, Old boat sheds
Old locks, Old cables
still set, where we laughed
without turning our heads,
watching the docking ferry.
Excerpted from Derelict Air by Edward Dorn, Justin Katko, Kyle Waugh. Copyright © 2015 Jennifer Dunbar Dorn. Excerpted by permission of Enitharmon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
A Note on the Text,
POEMS SENT TO CORPORAL GORDON TAYLOR (1953–1954),
THE RIGHTING OF THE CAT (1954),
LOOKING, FOR A THING (1957–1959),
POEMS OF WASHINGTON, IDAHO, & MEXICO (1959),
LATE IN THE REVOLUTION (1960 –1962),
SILENT GUNS (1961–1963),
A CIRCLE OF SONGS (1964),
IN THE FACE OF THE LIBERAL (1964–1968),
A CONVENTION IS IN A WALLPAPER STORE (1968),
THE GRAVE OF DIANA (1968–1970),
GUNSLINGER: FRAGMENTS & SATELLITES (1970 –1974),
THE DAY & NIGHT REPORT (1971),
THE THEATER OF MONEY (1971),
TRANSLATIONS WITH GORDON BROTHERSTON (1971–1975),
A MEXICO SCRAPBOOK (1972),
MELLOW W/ TEETH (1972–1976),
HOMAGE TO GRAN APACHERíA (1973),
OFFICE EQUIPMENT (1976–1983),
FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE PARTITION AT THE HOUSTON MLA 1980–1981),
MORE ABHORRENCES (1983–1989),
THE CONNECTION TO NOWHERE (1992–1999),
DENVER SKYLINE (1993–1999),
PLUS DE LANGUEDOC VARIORUM: A DEFENSE OF HERESY & HERETICS 1992–1999),