First of all, thank you to Jacket2 for dedicating this special feature to the work of Kenneth Irby. This project was initiated by William Joseph Harris — whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with as a coeditor, and to whom I’m grateful for this opportunity — and it builds off of the Kenneth Irby Symposium that he organized at the University of Kansas, in November 2011, at which five of the essays included here (Friedlander, Harrington, Hejinian, Joris, and Low) were presented. Nor would this project have been possible without the generous assistance of Kenneth Irby, who, among other things, carefully proofread the transcriptions of his letters and early poems, and contributed numerous photographs from his personal archives. Very special thanks to each of the archival librarians (and their respective institutions) for their knowledge and assistance in dealing with the archival materials presented here, specifically: Melissa Watterworth Batt, curator of Alternative Press, Literary, and Natural History Collections, in the Department of Archival and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT); Elspeth Healey, in the Department of Special Collections at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas (Lawrence, Kansas); and Polly Armstrong, Public Services manager, and Mattie Taormina, head of Public Services, in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries (Stanford, California). Many thanks to Jennifer Dunbar Dorn for the permission to reproduce the unpublished writing by Ed Dorn that appears in the introduction to the selection of Irby’s correspondence in this issue. For their insightful editorial comments and suggestions on a previous version of that introduction, and for their general energy and scholastic support, many kind thanks to professor Hildegard Hoeller and the members of her spring 2012 Theory and Practice in Literary Studies seminar: Brian Baaki, Hillel Broder, Nick Gamso, Meira Levinson, Madison Priest, and Justin Van Wormer. Thanks to Jackie Anderson of Colortek of Boston for providing an electronic version of Elsa Dorfman’s 1972 photograph of Irby, Robert Duncan, and Anne Waldman, and kind thanks to Ms. Dorfman for the permission to reproduce it here. Thanks also to Lee Chapman of First Intensity Press for allowing us to include her sunflower drawing, a trademark of Irby’s books since the early ’70s. Particularly big ups to Howard Graham, who generously took the time to scan and electronically transfer a huge selection of Irby’s photographs for this issue. Mucho respect and gratitude to Matt Hofer, who invited me to present a portion of my work on Irby as a member of a “New American Poetry and the West” panel at the Modernist Studies Association conference in October 2012, and likewise respect and thanks to fellow panel member Kaplan Harris and to the panel’s chair, Alan Golding. Much of the information provided in the notes to Irby’s correspondence that concerns small literary presses and the outermost fringe figures of the tiny magazine scene comes from the scholarly treasure, A Secret Location on the Lower East Side: Adventures in Writing, 1960–1980 (New York: The New York Public Library and Granary Books, 1998), by Steve Clay and Rodney Phillips. I am also indebted, in a more general editorial way, to David Greetham’s lodestone volume, Textual Scholarship: An Introduction (New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1994), and to Greetham himself, as well as to my experience in collaborating on the Lost & Found chapbook project under the leadership of Ammiel Alcalay at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Finally, the most special loving thanks to Jacquelin, sustainer of my spirit, who walks me through it.
William J. Harris Kyle Waugh