Two nights ago I was fortunate enough to go to the book launch for Carcanet’s new Collected Poems of Ed Dorn hosted at the London Review of Books. The volume itself is terrific: nearly 1000 pages of one of America’s most important post-war poets edited with care, and attention to detail, by Jennifer Dunbar Dorn, Justin Katko, Reitha Pattison and Kyle Waugh.
Iain Sinclair introduced the evening and there were readings from John Hall, Tom Raworth, Justin Katko, Nicholas Johnson, Tom Pickard, Gordon Brotherston and Jennifer Dunbar Dorn.
The volume itself is the first attempt to collect almost all of Dorn’s massive range of writing and it is an impressive feat. It has appendices that include Bean News as well as Prefaces and Commentaries from individual volumes of the poems as they appeared. ‘Afterwords’, one by Amiri Baraka and the other by J.H. Prynne are included as is a particular favourite poem of mine that was only published in Cid Corman’s Origin 13 (Summer 1954), ‘Relics from a Polar Cairn’, which I wrote about in PN Review 163 in 2005.
Also on sale at the launch, and as if a timely reminder of Dorn’s enormous output, was Etruscan Book’s Westward Haut, another superbly presented publication from Nicholas Johnson’s press. This book contains a couple of pieces that are not in the Collected and it can be obtained by going to