Helen Adam on Pacifica Radio, 1977-78

Helen Adam on Susan Howe’s Pacifica Radio Program, 1977-1978, performing her work, and in conversation with Susan Howe and Charles Ruas:

  1. Ballad of the Hawthorn Bower (4:20): MP3
  2. introduction (1:03): MP3
  3. on her childhood in Scotland (8:39): MP3
  4. on moving to San Francisco, "San Francisco's Burning," and writing ballads aloud (6:28): MP3
  5. In and Out of the Horn-Beam Maze (5:38): MP3
  6. on her favorite painters (2:17): MP3
  7. on Allen Ginsberg, Jack Spicer, Open Space, and the atmosphere of San Francisco (4:11): MP3
  8. At the Window (1:12): MP3
  9. on gothic romances, magic, and the relationship between love and death (5:44): MP3
  10. on Henry VIII's wives and ruthlessness (2:24): MP3
  11. The Fair Young Wife (6:08): MP3
  12. on madness, the Elizabethan era, and reincarnation (3:02): MP3
  13. on Yeats, George MacDonald, and Robert Duncan (6:55): MP3
  14. A Walk in the Wind (1:42): MP3

Helen Adam, whom Robert Duncan referred to as "the extraordinary nurse of enchantment," was an active participant in The San Francisco Renaissance. Born in Scotland in 1909, Adam primarily wrote supernatural ballads which tell of fatal romances, darkly sadistic sexual affairs, jealous lovers, and vengeful demons. Her collages arise from these ballads, and animate what she called her “lethal women.”