Dorn, Edward

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American poet Edward Dorn was born April 2, 1929 in Villa Grove, Illinois. Edward Dorn attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina for several years, receiving a BA in 1954. Although poets associated with the college have often been grouped together as the "Black Mountain poets," Dorn has suggested: "I think I'm rightly associated with the Black Mountain “school,” not because of the way I write, but because I was there." Dorn's most influential and highly acclaimed work was the four-volume epic poem, Slinger , which evolved from his earlier poem, "An Idle Visitation." Edward Dorn died December 10, 1999 in Denver, Colorado.

"Edward Dorn." Contemporary Authors Online (reproduced in Biography Resource Center). http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioR (accessed June 2008).

From the guide to the Edward Dorn Letters and Poems, 1959–1968, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Biography

Edward Merton Dorn was born in Villa Grove, Illinois. He grew up in rural poverty during the Great Depression. He attended a one-room schoolhouse for his first eight grades. He later 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.[1]

In 1951, Dorn left Black Mountain and traveled to the Pacific Northwest, where he did manual labor 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, the setting for his autobiographical novel By the Sound (originally published as Rites of Passage), which describes the grinding poverty of life in "the basement stratum of society." In 1961 he accepted his first teaching job at Idaho State University, where he published the magazine Wild Dog. His first book of poetry, The Newly Fallen, was published by LeRoi Jones's Totem Press in 1961.

In 1965, with the photographer Leroy Lucas, Dorn spent the summer visiting Indian reservations for a book commissioned by William Morrow & Co. Press, The Shoshoneans. That fall, British poet and scholar Donald Davie invited him to join the faculty at the Literature Department he was creating at the new University of Essex. He spent most of the next five years in England, where he published several collections of poems and wrote Book 1 of Gunslinger. He also started working with Gordon Brotherston on translations from Latin American texts, solidified his close friendship with British poet J.H. Prynne, and met his second wife, Jennifer Dunbar Dorn.

On returning to the United States, Dorn spent the '70s as an academic migrant, teaching at over half a dozen universities across the country. In San Francisco, he collaborated with the printer and artist team Holbrook Teter and Michael Myers on a number of projects, including the newspaper Bean News, the comic book format of Recollections of Gran Apachería, and the typsetting of the complete Gunslinger in 1974. In 1977 Dorn accepted a professorship at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he taught for the rest of his life, directing the Creative Writing Program and editing the literary newspaper Rolling Stock (motto: “If It Moves Print It”) with Jennifer Dunbar Dorn. During the '90s, after a teaching exchange visit to Paul Valery University in Montpellier inspired an interest in the Cathars of Southern France, he started working on Languedoc Variorum: A Defense of Heresy and Heretics. He was also writing another long narrative poem Westward Haut. During the last two and a half years of his life, he wrote the poems for the posthumously published Chemo Sabe, reporting on his cancer treatments.

Dorn's main work, his magnum opus, is Gunslinger. Gunslinger is a long poem in five sections. Part 1 was first published in 1968, and the final complete text appeared in 1974. Other important publications include The Collected Poems: 1956-1974 (1975), Recollections of Gran Apacheria (1975), Abhorrences (1989), High West Rendezvous: A Sampler (1997), and [Way More West: New and Selected Poems] (2008).

Popular horror novelist Stephen King admired Dorn, describing his poetry as "talismans of perfect writing" and even naming the first novel of The Dark Tower series, "The Gunslinger," in honor of Dorn's poem.[2] King also opened both the prologue and epilogue of "The Stand" with Dorn's line, "We need help, the Poet reckoned."[3]

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

(Source: Wikipedia, 3/26/2012)

From the guide to the Papers of Edward Dorn, circa 1930-2002, (Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives)

Edward Dorn was born 2 April 1929 in Villa Grove, Illinois . He studied with Charles Olson at Black Mountain College and graduated in 1955. He taught at Idaho State University at Pocatello (1961-65), the University of Essex, Great Britain (1965-1970), Northeastern Illinois University at Chicago (1970-1971), Kent State University, Ohio (1973-74) and the University of Colorado (1977-1999).

Edward Dorn has written and published extensively. His works include: What I See in the Maximus Poems (1960), The Newly Fallen (1961), Hands Up! (1964), Geography (1965), The Shoshoneans: The People of the Basin Plateau (1966), The North Atlantic Turbine (1967), Gunslinger Book I (1968), Gunslinger Book II (1969), Twenty-four Love Songs (1969), Tree Between Two Walls (1969), Songs Set Two: A Short Count (1970), The Cycle (1971), Some Business Recently Transacted in the White World (1971), Gunslinger Book III (1972), Recollections of Gran Apacheria (1974), The Collected Poems: 1956-1974 (1975), Slinger (1975), Views (1980), Yellow Lola (1981), and Abhorrences (1990).

Mr. Dorn died in December 1999 at the age of 70.

From the guide to the Edward Dorn Papers., undated, 1956-1993., (Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center .)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Edward Dorn Papers., undated, 1956-1993. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
referencedIn Larry Fagin Papers., n.d., 1958-1977. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
referencedIn Gerard Malanga Papers, 1944-1971 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, ca. 1933-1997. Houghton Library
referencedIn Allen Ginsberg papers, 1937-1994 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn The Review of Contemporary Fiction/Dalkey Archive Press : records, 1980-1990 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn New American Poetry Circuit Records., 1969-1974. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
creatorOf Papers of Edward Dorn, circa 1930-2002 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn George Economou Papers, 1954-1996. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Eddie Woods papers, circa 1957- 2009 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Joel Oppenheimer Papers, 1925-1988. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
referencedIn Papers relating to Blind Date and New Blind Date, 1979-2005, 1987-1998 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Diane Di Prima Papers, 1948-1971 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Edward Dorn Letters and Poems, 1959–1968 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Gitin, David. Papers, 1968-1993. Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn John Wieners Papers., 1958-1986. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
referencedIn Rochelle Owens Papers, 1900-1997 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Donald Allen Collection, 1930-2005 Mandeville Special Collections Library
referencedIn Archive for New Poetry. Curator's Correspondence and Subject Files, 1974 - 1989 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn Gary Snyder Papers, 1910-2003;, (1945-2002 bulk) University of California, Davis. General Library. . Dept. of Special Collections
referencedIn James Koller Papers., 1959-1986 Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
referencedIn (Everett) Leroi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) Papers, 1957-1965 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
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American poetry--20th century--Sources
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