Amiri Baraka and Edward Dorn
The Collected Letters
Publication Year: 2013
From the end of the 1950s through the middle of the 1960s, Amiri Baraka (b. 1934) and Edward Dorn (1929–99), two self-consciously avant-garde poets, fostered an intense friendship primarily through correspondence. The early 1960s found both poets just beginning to publish and becoming public figures. Bonding around their commitment to new and radical forms of poetry and culture, Dorn and Baraka created an interracial friendship at precisely the moment when the Civil Rights Movement was becoming a powerful force in national politics. The major premise of the Dorn-Jones friendship as developed through their letters was artistic, but the range of subjects in the correspondence shows an incredible intersection between the personal and the public, providing a schematic map of what was so vital in postwar American culture to those living through it.
Their letters offer a vivid picture of American lives connecting around poetry during a tumultuous time of change and immense creativity. Reading through these correspondences allows access into personal biographies, and through these biographies, profound moments in American cultural history open themselves to us in a way not easily found in official channels of historical narrative and memory.
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
Foreword: From the Archive Out
The inauguration of Recencies is a most welcome addition to the field of possibilities in contemporary literary studies and yet another indication that new pressures are being brought to bear on our conceptions of recent cultural history. By creating a space for older work to be seen anew, the series further formalizes an...
The magazine sought to bring some unplanned newness to a literary scene that was dominated then by so called new criticism. The Sewanee, Kenyon, Partisan, Hudson and so forth reviews for whom poetry was something that could only be written if preceded, riddled, and packaged with strings of Latin, Greek, quotes...
I would like to thank, first, Ammiel Alcalay for not only introducing and sharing a tremendous body of knowledge but for serving as staunch believer in and facilitator for my intellectual pursuits. Without the support, advice, and enthusiasm of those closest to these letters, Amiri Baraka and Jennifer Dunbar...
From the end of the 1950s through the middle of the 1960s, Amiri Baraka and Edward Dorn fostered a friendship primarily through correspondence. Though many of the original letters have been lost over time, those that do exist testify to the complicated and intense friendship of these two self-consciously...
The LeRoi Jones–Edward Dorn correspondence begins with a request, from Jones in New York to Dorn in Santa Fe: “I’d like to have a couple of poems.” The poetry is the starting place, the central point around which these artists’ lives revolved. The letters from these first two years make clear how quickly the two poets...