Tom Weatherly

This is provocation

Tom Weatherly with Victor Bockris and Andrew Wylie

Note: Victor Bockris and Andrew Wylie conducted a series of interviews with numerous contemporary American poets during the early 1970s, published in various venues. The playful style of the interview with Weatherly is typical of these. (These interviews were collected for a book to be titled The Life of Poetry in 1973, but the book never appeared in print.

Black oral poetry in America

An open letter

Note: The following open letter was originally published in Jerome Rothenberg and Dennis Tedlock’s journal of ethnopoetics, Alcheringa, no. 3 (Winter 1971): 94–95 (a facsimile is available online at Independent Voices). The immediate occasion was a statement made by Ted Wilentz, Weatherly’s coeditor for the Natural Process anthology, in his introduction to that volume. 

Note: The following open letter was originally published in Jerome Rothenberg and Dennis Tedlock’s journal of ethnopoetics, Alcheringa, no. 3 (Winter 1971): 94–95 (a facsimile is available online at Independent Voices).

Preface to 'Natural Process'

Note: In 1970, Weatherly and Ted Wilentz coedited an anthology of African American poetry titled for the workshops Weatherly had been running from East Harlem for the past few years: Natural Process. A fixture on the New York scene, Wilentz and his brother Eli co-owned the Eighth Street Bookstore at 32 West 8th Street in New York.

Uncollected poems

'The World Anthology' and 'Alcheringa'

Note: The uncollected texts printed here date from the same period as Tom Weatherly’s Maumau American Cantos (1970) and Thumbprint (1971), and include a number of additional cantos that were not published in the former collection.

'Weather'

Note: The following poems were originally published in Lip no. 1 (1971): 107–19, following Ken Bluford’s “Essay with Tom Weatherly in It,” and collected under the heading “Weather.” — David Grundy

CONTENTS

Eight uncollected early poems

Note: The following eight early poems written in 1964–1965, all of which predate the poems in Weatherly’s first published collection, Maumau American Cantos, are taken from typescripts at the Rosey Pool Collection, now at the University of Sussex.[1] Pool, the Dutch editor of the anthology

'Climate/Stream'

Note: The following poems were originally published in Climate/Stream, a joint publication with Ken Bluford, by Middle Earth Books in 1972. Two of these poems, “godfather” and “for Judy Alms,” also appeared in Alcheringa. — David Grundy

Click here to view scans of the original text.

'Thumbprint'

Note: What follows is the complete text of Tom Weatherly’s second book, Thumbprint, originally published by Telegraph Books in 1971. — David Grundy

THUMBPRINT
Tom Weatherly
Telegraph Books, 1971

A short history of Tom Weatherly

We’re familiar by now with the designation of neglected writers as “poets’ poets”— essentially, an excuse for their continuing neglect. And we are, or should be, even more familiar with the neglect heaped on African American innovative writers, especially those who refuse to be easily pigeonholed into secure ideological or formal categories. Thomas Elias Weatherly (1942–2014) fits both categories.

'Maumau American Cantos'

Note: What follows is the complete text of Tom Weatherly’s first book, Maumau American Cantos, originally published by Corinth Books in 1970. — David Grundy

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