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Synopsis

More than 400 pages of Edward Dorn’s previously uncollected poetry gleaned from ephemera, correspondence, and notebooks housed at numerous archives in the United States and the UK are gathered here in Derelict Air. From Dorn’s first Beat poems in 1952 and visionary juvenalia from his study at Black Mountain to the long poems that were central to the development of the British Poetry Revival and translations of native texts from the Mayans and Aztecs, the transatlantic roots of Dorn’s anticapitalism are fully visible. Whereas Dorn’s Collected Poems exhibits the poet that he became, Derelict Air reflects a career of becoming, full of unacknowledged successes in the diverse forms of the lyric, the pronouncement, the mock-epic, and the epigram. Recovering four lost books, this collection significantly expands Dorn’s oeuvre, including impassioned outbursts written during the Cuban missile crisis, illustrated bucolics for an unfinished children’s book, “confetti poems” meant to shower the 1968 DNC, outtakes from his sci-fi epic Gunslinger, and a relentless extension of his 1990s “stock ticker.” Complete with scholarly endnotes, manuscript facsimiles, and a cover by the painter Raymond Obermayr, this substantial offering of Edward Dorn’s poetry is a must-have for any reader interested in postwar American modernism.

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