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This article is taken from PN Review 171, Volume 33 Number 1, September - October 2006.

Black Mountain in England 5: Edward Dorn Ian Brinton

 Edward Dorn’s long poem, ‘The Land Below’, was first printed under the title ‘The Landscapes Below’ in The Floating Bear 3, 1961, before being extensively revised forinclusion in issue six of the Cambridge journal, Prospect, edited in 1964 by Jeremy Prynne.The Floating Bear, editedby LeRoi Jones and Diane di Prima, was a mimeographed newsletter which was distributed through the Phoenix Bookstore, New York, and was offered to the reader free of charge, or for the price of paper and postage. This dislocation from the market forces was mirrored in the information at the end of Prospect 6: ‘Only a very small number of copieswill be for sale over a counter; but copies will be sent free of charge to any person, who, out of a real sense of interest, thinks it worth writing to the editor to ask for them.’ ‘The Land Below’ also appeared in Dorn’s second published volume of poems, Hands Up! (Totem Press/LeRoi Jones) in1964, the year before the young American was awarded a Fulbright Lectureship at the newly-founded University of Essex.

 Dorn’s poem opens with a delicate sense of exactness:
 

 The light wind falters leaves
 in the cottonwood. Barely evening.
 The rain earlier, coming again
 from the West, in front of me.

 Over the Jemez an illumined band of milk grey
 where the afterglow lingers. Nearer,
 in front, a tower
 two red lights come on and off. ...


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