Synopses & Reviews
Cultural Writing. Poetry. Gay/Lesbian Studies. The late James Laughlin of New Directions called Jonathan Williams an incomparable monument of our culture. In BLACKBIRD DUST, the latest from this prolific author, Williams delivers a series of urgent and eccentric essays, rants, interviews, poems, eulogies, and letters chronicling a love affair with the beauty of the English language and its craftspeople. In an author's note, Williams writes, BLACKBIRD DUST is another celebration of Outsiderdom...The mix, as ever, involves food, drinik, sex, sport, walking, manners, music, writers, artists, photographers -- much that has been sternly isolated and sedulously ignored. I have tried to be as companionable, jocular, and curmudgeonly as possible...Southern-fried bourgeoisophobes don't come along every day. Other Williams publications from SPD include PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHS, METAFOURS FOR MYSOPHOBES, and LE GARAGE RAVI DE ROCKY MOUNTAIN.
Blackbird Dust is a collection of pieces -- many published here for the first time -- by master wordsmith Jonathan Williams, about whom the poet Irving Layton once said, "The sun melts like butter over his sweetcorn thoughts". With a front cover designed by Trevor Winkfield, this book of essays, occasional poems, and photographs rambles through literary lives (Robert Duncan, Basil Bunting, Henry Miller, Simon Cutts); photographers (Harry Callahan, Raymond Moore, Art Sinsabaugh, Calrence John Laughlin), artists (James McGarrell, Bill Anthony, Anni Albers); and obituaries (Joel Oppenheimer, Paul Ports, Ernest Matthew Mickler). There is a long piece, "The Moon Pool", on undervalued and overlooked books and writers; and several musings on the pleasures of exploring both great and minor cemeteries in the US and Europe.
Jonathan Williams is a poet, publisher, photographer, polemicist,champion correspondent and cross-country promenader.
About the Author
Jonathan Williams (1929-2008) founded the Jargon Society--a publisher dedicated to experimental fiction, photography, and visionary folk art--and has championed the underdog, maverick, and outsider in the arts for fifty years. He has also published over 100 of his own books, pamphlets, and broadsides of poetry, essays, and photography. He lived on Skywinding Farm in rural North Carolina.