May 20, 2013

5 Poems by Edward Dorn

Title: 5 Poems by Edward Dorn. YouTube Video Description - [Channel: PoemsBeingRead. Uploaded on June 27, 2010]:
Ed Dorn (1929-1999)

Edward Dorn told Effie Mihopoulos in a 1991 interview that "[Poetry is] obsolete...But so what? There are lots of great things that are obsolete. Kerosene lamps are obsolete, but there's no light like it in a cabin in Northern Wisconsin...." (1)

Edward Dorn was born April 2, 1929 in Villa Grove, Illinois. Attending a one-room school house until eighth grade, he was raised during the Depression in a family of itinerant farmers. In 1964 he included poems about his memories of his childhood in his collection Hands Up!

Dorn spent two years at the University of Illinois and then graduated from Black Mountain College in North Carolina. At Black Mountain he became acquainted with Robert Creeley and Charles Olson. His first teaching position was at the University of Idaho in 1961.

In the summer of 1965 Dorn visited Indian reservations in collaborated with photographer Leroy Lucas for a book, The Shoshoneans. He was invited to join the faculty at the University of Essex in England that fall. During the five years he stayed in England, he wrote the first book of Gunslinger.

Robert Duncan said the 5 volume work "Gunslinger" was like an American "Canterbury Tales." Myrna Oliver in the Los Angeles Times says "Gunslinger" involves a diverse cast of characters including a talking horse, who are headed to Las Vegas to confront Howard Hughes whom they view as "hustling the future." This merry band is stoned most of the time and tell nightly tales on their trek.

Stephen King said Dorn's poetry is a "talismans of perfect writing." Along with British poet Eric Mottram, Dorn was a mentor of the group Devo.

Tom Raworth in an obituary of Dorn in The Independent said "Dorn suffered fools not at all, and sloppy thinking not for a moment." In his August 2003 Jacket review of Tom Clark's biography of Edward Dorn, Skip Fox suggests that Dorn was dropped from anthologies because of his outspokenness. He quotes Amiri Barka's "I dug Ed Dorn because he wd rather/ Make you his enemy/ Than Lie."

Always a witness to his time, Dorn considered democracy a responsibility, and included political and social criticism in his work.

Edward Dorn died December 10, 1999 of pancreatic cancer.