It gives me great pleasure to bring the following to your attention:
The Life and Work of Jonathan Williams, Black Mountain Poet, Publisher, Photographer:
THE LORD OF ORCHARDS
– in Jacket magazine –
I’d like to invite your attention to an comprehensive online feature on the life and work of Black Mountain poet, publisher, and photographer Jonathan Williams, THE LORD OF ORCHARDS, edited by myself here at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and poet/publisher Richard Owens at the State University of New York – Buffalo. As you know Williams, like Whitman, was a cosmos. He was publisher; poet and satirist; book designer; editor; photographer; legendary correspondent; literary, art, and photography critic and collector; early collector and proselytizer of visionary folk art; cultural anthropologist; curmudgeon; happy gardener; ground-breaking gay writer, resolute walker; and keen and adroit raconteur and gourmand.
Finally, all the feature’s pieces are public and available at the URL here at John Tranter’s JACKET magazine, located in Australia, and arguably one of the finest online literary magazines around:
Our thanks to John for all of his work in getting our unwieldy collaboration online, and making it available to the world.
It took almost a year. Our feature was conceived not long after Jonathan passed away in 2008. Our plan was to have it appear for what would have been Jonathan’s 80th birthday in 2009. However as we began gathering work and commissioning pieces we found the project not only fun and enlightening for ourselves, but also a many-tentacled monster – albeit a happy one.
The feature includes past essays and comments from Basil Bunting, Robert Duncan, Guy Davenport, Kenneth Irby, Ronald Johnson, Eric Mottram, Charles Olson and others. And many new pieces written in response to Jonathan’s death or commissioned by us for this feature (writers such as David Anwnn, Robert Bertholf, Vic Brand, Thomas A. Clark, Simon Cutts, Richard Deming, James Jaffe, Tom Patterson, Michael Rumaker, and Dale Smith) – well, just take a look at the contents to see the full list. You’ll also discover 26 portraits of Jonathan from the age of about 12 up until 2005 – with other images scattered throughout the essays, 24 photographs by Jonathan – a number of which have never been published, works of art in honor of Jonathan, an unpublished interview with Jonathan by editor Richard Owens, a complete Jargon bibliography by Owens, and a selected Jonathan Williams publications bibliography compiled by me from a forthcoming complete bibliography. The essays range in subject from Jonathan as an art collector, photographer, publisher, and poet – to many new appreciations from young poets and publishers, major new essays including one on the role of humor in Jonathan’s poetry and articles on Jonathan’s work in photography and art collecting, moving elegies including prose by Robert Kelly and the full text of Thomas Meyer’s long poem KINTSUGI written while Jonathan was dying.
Here’s what readers have already said:
“Amazing.” Ron Silliman.
“The special section on Jonathan Williams is quite simply one of the best things to ever appear in JACKET. Thanks to you and Rich for doing that!” Kent Johnson
“[A] strong feature you have put together for JACKET. I haven’t read the whole, but looked through the table of contents for the first time today and was absolutely delighted to see such company under one roof — in fact, that’s pretty much the party of my dreams.
Please feel free to share this message with others. Your comments are welcome too!
Editor, OYSTER BOY REVIEW
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Publisher of DAMN THE CAESARS magazine and PUNCH PRESS
PhD candidate, Poetics Program
State University of New York – Buffalo