PN Review Online Poetry Literary Magazine
Most Read... Peter Rileyon Ted Berrigan
(PN Review 169)
David Herdin Conversation with John Ashbery
(PN Review 99)
Henry Kingon Geoffrey Hill's Oraclau/Oracles
(PN Review 199)
Dannie Abse'In Highgate Woods' and Other Poems
(PN Review 209)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Next Issue Gregory O’Brien In defence of poetry as an offshore island and art as an undersea mammal or coral reef John Ashbery The Heavy Bear: Delmore Schwartz’s Life Versus his Poetry (1995) Mary Maxwell The Way Grass Grows: Janice Biala, Ford, and Pound’s Pisan Cantos Yves Bonnefoy The Tombs of Ravenna David Hoak Proofs of Love: the last letters of Lota de Macedo Soares to Elizabeth Bishop

This article is taken from PN Review 178, Volume 34 Number 2, November - December 2007.

Ed Dorn's Theatre of Impatience John Muckle

I first heard of the poetry of Ed Dorn in a letter from a friend who was being taught by him at Essex University. This was 1974. I was attending the University of Warwick, and not attending much. I'd been put off by someone I later learned was the Romanticism lecturer, who, upon hearing of my enthusiasm for Allen Ginsberg in the university bar, raised his head from his pint and said: 'They're not letting your sort in, are they?' I went on strike. I slept all day and stayed up all night in lonely misery. I occupied the new arts centre, with other students politicised by the death of Kevin Gately at the hands of the police on a demonstration in Red Lion Square. I took a coach down to Colchester to sleep on my friend Robert's study-room floor in the black towers and hear 'this guy Ed Dorn' read his poetry.

He read from Gunslinger, his book-length satirical poem, then a work-in-progress, and 'Recollections of Gran Apacheria', poems about the last days of Cochise and Geronimo and the brutal attrition of their 'endless fights/with the whites'. Gunslinger seemed good fun, if a little hard to follow, an endless series of in-jokes that were sometimes difficult to get. I had the impression Dorn was an international cocaine smuggler, by means of which he financed a number of third world revolutions, and an enlightened literature department fell about knowingly at his ...
Searching, please wait... animated waiting image