Jonathan Williams writing to J. W. Bonner
Our address, for the sake of argument, is Corn Close, Dentdale,
Sedbergh, Cumbria LA10 5QG, England (UK). Sympathetic Letters
answered sympathetically; Boring letters answered boringly.
June 17, 1991
(Uncle E-gore Stravinsky)
Dear Coach JK,
Here it’s wet and cold and the English are miserable. What could be
better!!! If you have the blood-sugar to cope with it all. Actually, I
think I’m in the midst of a “mild depression.” Too much literary
work, followed by not one peep from Ten Speed, who are riding their
bikes backwards, like the cubists. It is time to send them a blast.
Nothing, of course, received from Senor Meatball de Madrid.
The Follies of Buggalony are Oct 18–20. Maybe it is a farewell
party more than a birthday party?
The biography of Ford Madox Ford, by Alan Judd, is worth your
time and attention. Squire Bunting now and again muttered that I
reminded him of Old Fordie. Yup. Both of us like living in houses
with excellent views; we like good food and good drink; we write
all the time; and we both feel quite estranged from the assholes
who inhabit and infest the literary clubs.
The Braves keep doing better than one thought. Here, it’s the second
test match with the West Indies in cricket. England won the
first and is at least competitive. And then Wimbledon. I don’t
warm to many of the players. Agassi is another jerk. The Swedes
so bland. Anyway, on we go!
Love to JB4,
Jewel-Eye Won 92
Thank you, lad, for your note and a copy of String. It’s one of
those mysterious fictions (chiseled and crafted and cool) that perhaps
doesn’t depend on my reading it. Who nose?
David Wilk tells me there is no longer an audience for Charles
Olson, Paul Metcalf, Joel Oppenheimer (I suppose he could easily
have included me too). “The various media recognize people like
Noam Chomsky and Dennis Cooper. And maybe Audre Lorde,
Louise Erdrich and a few others. It’s pretty bleak…America is not
a literary country!”
This is just what you want to hear from your distributor! Dennis
Cooper is absolute bloody boring s-m rubbish. I’ve never heard of
Louise E. Professor. Chomsky and Mizz Lorde are nowt to me,
String looks very nice, except it’s a bit hard to see “Toothbrush
Drill” as clearly as one might like to.
I hear little from agents or Jargon or Buffalo or all those places.
Here, it looks like Aragon or Utah. It simply hasn’t been raining for
about six weeks. I expect the sounds of flamenco and the guitar…
I am putting together the contents of yet two more books of ye
poemas. I have vague hopes of beguiling two nutty avant-garde
assholes into publishing them. Olé! The chances are fair.
You won’t get this for awhile, but send us news when you can. The
Braves sound like they’re back from nowhere. Dig it!
Love to both—and the younger boths…
25 August 1997
ALL HAIL, MR, J!!!
Do you know about Diana Krall? Patrick O’Shea played me some
in New Jersey and she sounded pretty amazing.
One comes to realize the best thing about Corn Close is how
QUIET it is. The landscape is, obviously, always there and always
worth regarding. But to look at it in almost perpetual quietude is
really a pleasure. Occasional sheep bleat, blackbird, wren, a stray
hawk, that’s about it. Well, the farmer’s jeep passes in the lane
down by the river about three times a day—but who’s counting?
If anything very interesting is going on in England on the poetry
front, the news has not reached Dent. The Brits fall inert in summer
and can’t summon the will to write, phone, or materialize. The
only quest with any keenness and sprezzatura has been Tim
Davis, a young poet/photographer who works at New Directions in
NYC. He’s a demon hiker. In six days he explored most of the
footpaths of Lower Dentdale. He thought it one of the most beautiful
places ever. And he travels to Japan, Australia, Bolivia, Africa,
etc. He was heading for Scotland after here to hike a bit of the
West Highland Way and then go out to the island of Uist in the
Simon Cutts has fled the Thames Valley and opted for the murky
mountains in County Tipperary. He and Erica purchased a real
dump which will take them years of work. Seems an odd thing to
do, just to have the finest Guinness available on draught at the
What have I been doing? A little, not a lot. Wrote a piece on
Kenneth Patchen for the next issue of Conjunctions…Put together
a little batch of poems called AMUSE-GUEULES FOR BEMUSED
GHOULS for a broadside series (Backwoods Broadsides) that a
man called Sylvester Pollet publishes out of Ellsworth, Maine, not
all that far from Vinalhaven. I think he may teach at Orano. Now I
have to make up a series of excerpts out of letters from Frederick
Eckman to me, along with my comments, for a memorial
Festschrift. I don’t know whether you know his name? He was one
of the publishers of Golden Goose Press. They did Creeley’s first
book. He taught in Austin and at Bowling Green in Ohio. Nice man.
Tom studies the Vedic ways, etc., and seems in a calm and satisfied
state. We miss our marmalade kitty, who is residing with the
McGarrells in Newbury, Vermont. Vitello tonnato is a favorite dish
of his at the moment, but he is also getting to like fried squash
blossoms. A cat of great discretion. They, however, are still not
able to get him to give up milk for Pinot Grigio or the dry white
wine of Orvieto much favored by Mr. Bunting.
We’ll be back in God’s Country on October 7th. I have to go that
weekend to New Orleans to say a few words about Clarence John
Laughlin (there is a book of essays about him being published) at
the Historic New Orleans Collection. Then we can settle down. The
last half of November we have things to do in Winston-Salem,
Charlotte, Washington, and Hartford. So, we’ll see you sometime
in October. I have a new podiatrist to show my miserable, wobbly
feet. He’s in Asheville.
Love to all in your merry band!
LORD CRUD-VIGIL OF DENT