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Letters to Jargon, Letters to Jargon, 0817359346, 0-8173-5934-6, 978-0-8173-5934-8, 9780817359348, , Modern and Contemporary Poetics, Letters to Jargon, 0817392254, 0-8173-9225-4, 978-0-8173-9225-3, 9780817392253, , Modern and Contemporary Poetic

Letters to Jargon
The Correspondence between Larry Eigner and Jonathan Williams
Edited and Introduced by Andrew Rippeon

Quality Paper
2019. 348 pp.
17 B&W figures
Price:  $39.95 s
E Book
2019. 347 pp.
17 B&W figures
Price:  $39.95 d

Gathers some of the most intimate, personal writing on life and the art of poetry by a crucial figure in late twentieth-century American letters
Celebrated by both the Black Mountain poets in the 1950s and 1960s and the Language poets in the 1970s and 1980s, Larry Eigner’s poems occupy an important place in American poetry and poetics, and his reputation and legacy grow seemingly stronger with each passing year. Letters to Jargon collects all of the known correspondence between Larry Eigner and Jonathan Williams, the influential publisher of Jargon Society Press and himself a poet.
Eigner’s correspondence with Williams began in the early 1950s, as the two were in conversation over the manuscript of On My Eyes, published by Jargon in 1960. Their correspondence continued for many years thereafter, extending into the period when Eigner’s work started to gain recognition from the nascent movement that would become known as “Language” writing.
The letters are quite broad in their range of reference and provide a fuller context for Eigner’s poetry and thinking. Eigner and Williams discuss their own poetic practices, including the source material for specific poems, general writing practices, and small press and little magazine publication. This volume offers considerable insight into their shared literary communities as Eigner reports on his readings in contemporary poetry and poetics, as well as his correspondence and contact with other poets including Charles Olson, Vincent Ferrini, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Robert Grenier, and Barrett Watten.
Also recorded are Eigner’s reactions to current events and explications of his own poems, including the contexts for appropriated lines and distinctions of character spacing. Eigner also shares with Williams details of his home life, his financial difficulties and the daily challenges of his cerebral palsy. Finally, the book features a series of images of the original letters, enabling readers to see Eigner’s specific material-textual practices.

Andrew Rippeon is visiting assistant professor of writing at Davidson College.

“I highly recommend Letters to Jargon. As a scholar who has studied Eigner’s life and letters extensively, and is viciously protective of his work, I am in awe.”
—Jennifer Bartlett, author of Derivative of the Moving Image and coeditor of Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability

“This correspondence between Larry Eigner and his early publisher, the poet Jonathan Williams, offers a vital contribution to the former’s emerging career and aesthetic development. Andrew Rippeon has done a masterful job of editing both sides of the correspondence, providing extensive notes for each letter along with unpublished essays, notes, and reviews by Eigner found in the Jargon Society archives. These letters show Eigner’s keen engagement with the day’s news and with the emerging literary scene circulating within little magazines, chapbooks, and publishers—and not incidentally through correspondence.”
—Michael Davidson, author of Invalid Modernism: Disability and the Missing Body of the Aesthetic

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