Ed Dorn

Ed Dorn

Edward Merton Dorn (April 2, 1929December 10, 1999) was an American poet and teacher often associated with the Black Mountain poets.


Edward Merton Dorn was born in Villa Grove, Illinois and studied at the University of Illinois and at Black Mountain College (1950-1955). At Black Mountain he came into contact with Charles Olson, who greatly influenced his literary worldview and his sense of himself as poet. Dorn's final examiner at Black Mountain was Robert Creeley, with whom, along with the poet Robert Duncan, Dorn became included as one of a trio of younger poets later associated with Black Mountain and with Charles Olson. [The book "The Lost America of Love", by Sherman Paul, celebrates this relationship, as did the Charles Olson conference held under Paul's direction at the University of Iowa in 1978, in which Dorn, Duncan, and Creeley were the only poets participating among a flurry of academic literary scholars. Dorn is now considered by some commentators to be the inheritor of Olson's bardic mantle, the transmittee of the lamp.]

In 1951, Dorn left Black Mountain and travelled to the Pacific Northwest, where he did manual work and met his first wife, Helene; they returned to the school in late 1954. After graduation and two years of travel, Dorn's family settled in Washington state. His first book, "The Newly Fallen", was published by Amiri Baraka's Totem Press in 1961.

Dorn's main work, his magnum opus, is "Gunslinger". "Gunslinger" is a long poem in four sections. Part 1 was first published in 1968, and the final complete text appeared in 1989. Other important publications include "The Collected Poems: 1956-1974" (1975) and "High West Rendezvous: A Sampler" (1997).

Dorn died of pancreatic cancer on December 10, 1999 in Denver, Colorado. His papers are collected at the University of Connecticut.

Dorn's teaching career

During his life, Dorn taught at a number of institutions of higher learning, including Idaho State University at Pocatello (1961-65); the University of Essex, Great Britain (1965-1970) as a Fulbright lecturer; Northeastern Illinois University at Chicago (1970-1971); Kent State University, Ohio (1973-74); and the University of Colorado (1977-1999). His second wife, Jennifer Dunbar Dorn, was an Englishwoman he met during his Essex-years.

In the early 1970s, as a visiting poet at Kent State University, Dorn, along with British poet and editor Eric Mottram, was a mentor and supporter of the musical group Devo, and its founders Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis.



* 1961: "The Newly Fallen", Totem PressWeb page titled [http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=1837"Archive / Edward Dorn (1929-1999)"] at the Poetry Foundation website, retrieved May 8, 2008]
* 1964: "Hands Up!", Totem Press
* 1964: "From Gloucester Out", Matrix Press
* 1965: "Idaho Out", Fulcrum Press
* 1965: "Geography", Fulcrum Press
* 1967: "The North Atlantic Turbine", Fulcrum Press
* 1968: "Gunslinger", Black Sparrow Press
* 1969: "Gunslinger: Book II", Black Sparrow Press
* 1969: "The Midwest Is That Space Between the Buffalo Statler and the Lawrence Eldridge", T. Williams
* 1969: "The Cosmology of Finding Your Spot", Cottonwood
* 1969: "Twenty-four Love Songs", Frontier Press
* 1970: "Gunslinger I & II", Fulcrum Press
* 1970: "Songs Set Two: a Short Count", Frontier Press
* 1971: "Spectrum Breakdown: A Microbook", Athanor Books
* 1971: "By the Sound, Frontier Press"; republished with a new preface by the author, Black Sparrow Press, 1991
* 1970: "The Cycle", Frontier Press
* 1970: "Songs Set Two: A Short Count", Frontier Press, ISBN 978-0686050520
* 1971: "A Poem Called Alexander Hamilton", Tansy/Peg Leg Press
* 1972: "The Hamadryas Baboon at the Lincoln Park Zoo", Wine Press
* 1972: "Gunslinger, Book III: The Winterbook, Prologue to the Great Book IV Kornerstone", Frontier Press
* 1974: "Recollections of Gran Apacheria", Turtle Island
* 1974: "Slinger" (contains "Gunslinger", Books I-IV and "The Cycle"), Wingbow Press
* 1975: With Jennifer Dunbar, "Manchester Square", Permanent Press
* 1975: "Collected Poems: 1956-1974", Four Seasons Foundation
* 1978: "Hello, La Jolla", Wingbow Press, ISBN 978-0914728245
* 1978: "Selected Poems", edited by Donald Allen, Grey Fox Press
* 1989: "Abhorrences", Black Sparrow Press
* 1996: "High West Rendezvous"
* 1999: Editor with Gordon Brotherston, "Sun Unwound: Original Texts from Occupied America ", North Atlantic Books, anthology


* 1968: With Gordon Brotherston, "Our Word: Guerilla Poems From Latin America", Grossman
* 1969: With Gordon Brotherston, "Jose Emilio Pacheco, Tree Between Two Walls", Black Sparrow Press
* 1976: "Selected Poems of Cesar Vallejo, Penguin


* 1960: "What I See in the Maximum Poems", Migrant Press (criticism)
* 1964: With Michael Rumaker and Warren Tallman, "Prose 1", Four Seasons Foundation
* 1965: "The Rites of Passage: A Brief History", Frontier Press
* 1966: "The Shoshoneans: The People of the Basin-Plateau", Morrow, 66 pages
* 1969: Author of introduction, "The Book of Daniel Drew" by Daniel Drew, Frontier Press
* 1971: "Some Business Recently Transacted in the White World (short stories), Frontier Press
* 1993: "Way West: Stories, Essays and Verse accounts, 1963-1993", Black Sparrow Press, includes the previously published (1974), "Recollections of Gran Aracheria"
* 1994: "The Denver Landing"

* 1997: "High West Rendezvous: A Sampler", Etruscan Books
* 2001: "Chemo Sábe", Limberlost Press (posthumous)
* 2007: "Way More West", edited by Michael Rothenberg, Penguin Books ISBN 978-0143038696 (posthumous)
* 2007: "Ed Dorn Live: Lectures, Interviews, and Outtakes", edited by Joseph Richey, University of Michigan Press ISBN 978-0472068623 (posthumous), criticism

Further reading

* Clark Tom (2002) "Edward Dorn: A World of Difference." Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.
* Levy, William (20 January 2000) [http://corpse.org/issue_4/burning_bush/dorn.htm "Death of a Gunslinger: An Obituary on Ed Dorn for America." "Exquisite Corpse"] , Issue 4.
* Paul, Sherman (1981) "The Lost America of Love: Rereading Robert Creeley, Edward Dorn, and Robert Duncan." Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
* Spitzer, Mark (1996) "Dinner with Slinger", in "Thus Spake the Corpse, An Exquisite Corpse Reader 1988-1998, Vol. 2 - Fictions, Travels & Translations" (Codrescu, A and Rosenthal, L, eds.) Santa Rosa: Black Sparrow Press.
* Spitzer, Mark (1999) "Transcript of an Ed Dorn Rant" "Jack Magazine," [http://www.jackmagazine.com/issue4/marks.html Issue 4] .
* Streeter, David ed. (1973) "A Bibliography of Ed Dorn." New York: The Phoenix Bookshop.


External links

*worldcat id|id=lccn-n82-6333
* [http://www.bigbridge.org/edindex.htm In Remembrance of Ed Dorn] Edited by Dale Smith. Contains a chapbook of poetry by Dorn called LOW COUPS AND HAUT COUPS. This site also features essays and remembrances by John Herndon, Stefan Hyner, Reno Lauro, Alice Notley, Richard Owens, and Claudia Pisano
* [http://www.poems.com/tribedor.htm "Tribe"] a poem by Dorn
* [http://www.centomag.org/archive/edward_dorn/edward_dorn.html Edward Dorn @ centomag.org]
* [http://www.poems.com/essastei.htm Preface to "Edward Dorn, American Heretic" (Chicago Review 49:3/4-50:1)]
* [http://www.sorabji.com/tpogh/stories/rambles/dorn.html From Gloucester Out]
* [http://www.thing.net/~grist/bove/rbdorn.htm Three poems]
* [http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/dorn/ Ed Dorn at the EPC]
* [http://www.lib.uconn.edu/online/research/speclib/ASC/findaids/Dorn/MSS19900049.html The Ed Dorn papers]
* [http://www.vlib.us/beats/dorn.html "The Cosmology of Finding Your Spot" poem 1969]
* [http://www.limberlostpress.com/authors/dorn.htm "Chemo Sábe α Edward Dorn"] publisher's site feature's a piece on "...Dorn's last collection of poems, written while battling cancer and the drugs he took to fight the disease."
* [http://ronsilliman.blogspot.com/search/label/Ed%20Dorn Ron Silliman on Dorn & "Way More West: New and Selected poems"] poet Ron Silliman discusses Dorn in the context of this posthumously published "selected poems". (from Silliman's blog, entry for Tuesday, March 20, 2007)
* [http://robmclennan.blogspot.com/2006/04/deep-in-dorn-country-stepping-into.html "Deep in Dorn Country: stepping into the poetry of Ed Dorn"] Rob McLennan's blog entry here provides another jumping off point for Dorn, including more useful links on the web. See also McLennan's entry here [http://robmclennan.blogspot.com/2006/07/verse-book-of-interviews-i-recently.html July 22, 2006] for a further discussion of Dorn
* [http://earthwithcity.blogspot.com/2007/05/what-is-not-permitted-is-recognition.html "What is not permitted is recognition": Dorn visits "Dog"] poet Stephen Baraban quotes extensively from a Dorn reading/visit/lecture during the school year 1979-80 at SUNY Buffalo: "Dorn was one of the best & most focused of all the visitors. His sly discourse, and the subsequent Q&A, was gripping--he had come carefully prepared with striking contentions".
* [http://www.bigbridge.org/chapbook.htmLOW COUPS AND HAUT COUPS] an electronic chapbook by Dorn
* [http://www.pnreview.co.uk/cgi-bin/scribe?file=/home/pnreview/public_html/members/pnr178/articles/178ar07.txt Ed Dorn's Theatre of Impatience] , a short essay by John Muckle from PN Review

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