May 14, 1972

14 May 72[1]

ED —

               Curious dream in which yr name occurred — newspaper article, mentioned you (& Duncan McNaughton —!)[2] as war correspondents in Vietnam — also simultaneously engaged in
geophysical investigation of “verves” — large stone ridges — or the people who lived among them —
unclear newsprint photographs accompanied — reports from Elsewhere

                                                                                                                                          Everything winds down to its finalé here at Tufts, amid a bit, finally, of real Spring — i.e. leaves flowers emergence (grass was here all along, actually) — I distrust pushing my truck for another transcontinental traversal, but a student I know’s driving west w/ his girl in a new VW bus in June, returning in August, I may very well travel w/ them — away, at any rate, from here for the summer —
                                                                                                                                The tape from yr reading here has a rather low volume level & a hum when the loudness is boosted, but the audience seems much much more vivacious than on the Brown tape — at any rate, worth saving (esp. since very little was duplicated in the two readings) — I’ll try to get it copied & bring it out in the summer — the quality of Bialy’s tape is definitely high grade (but what a cold sepulchral auditorium that was!) —

                                                                                                                                                                       I seem to keep circling back on the Kansas/Missouri borderland all spring (Sauer once in a dream told me to attend to that area: specifically the Missouri side, a band abt. as deep as Sedalia — it seemed so obvious I didn’t pay much attention for a long time) — not that I really want to in every regard — I begin to feel like the Chamber of Commerce Tourist Bureau — it only seems there again, as a means to get out, or on from, of locality into another distance/dimension — how/where do you think you made that shift yourself? (a translation of dimension/address, it feels to me, after the work in N. Atlantic Turbine[3] or am I purely imagining that?)[4] — much of the time efforts I have made that way seem to me only to have shifted the locale — to another part of the country, say — rather than on off altogether —
                               I’ve got this house, see, that for the moment is in Lawrence, but may be (has been) other places (like early Ft Scott, or Galena, except for a literal glacial edge, at this instant) — & a set of “characters”/operators — Dr Dee[5] definitely, & Delius,[6] & some Haitian sinister notables newly arrived (or abt to arrive) — or John Brown,[7] plus — merely a presence so far, not a person — someone very much like the Whore of Babylon grown old — it’s really her piece/place — all this not a play, not a set of voices — I’m interested in simultaneous rooms — it so far only feels like an assemblage of tokens — if we take the dimension of the local as X, then that aspect of it as simultaneous ages of history/places in geography may not be another dimension altogether, but we might designate X' — X prime — then — it’s the dimension that is beyond that, that all that fiction, of story, seeks, yearns for, yet but there

                                                                         I don’t know that stating the situation in these terms is even helpful — one reason I dig around in Dee & Kelly’s skrying session is the intimation of another language there (not just some romantic biography that lures), that is present and all around me if I wd/cd hear it — i.e. all this talk of dimension — the dimensions are of here, this present, this actual — so as the heart leaps, as it warms in me as it attends those places I approach, or merely name, it knows the leap, the warmth, is for, or of, another, coinherent, realm …
                                                                                                                                  “The glory is the thing happening; it is not, though in our talk we seem to make it so and can only believe in it so, an accident of the thing happening. The glory of God is in ‘facts.’”
                                                                                                                   as Charles Williams wrote, I read to my class last week — as Kelly wrote me recently: “Some times I wake up & realize I’ve been living in the profane for weeks …” — ah yes

Dee wrote:
                     «I have oftentymes … and many ways, looked into the State of Earthly
Kingdoms, Generally, the whole World over: … being a Study, of no great Difficulty: But, rather, a purpose, somewhat answerable, to a perfect Cosmographer: to fynde hym selfe, Cosmopolites»[8]


& in another place:

«But … more ample is our Science, than to measure Plaines: and nothyng lesse therin is tought (of purpose) then how to measure Land. An other name, therefore, must nedes be had, for our Mathematicall Science of Magnitudes: which regardeth neither clod, nor turf: neither hill, nor dale: neither earth nor heaven: but is absolute Megethologia: not creping on ground, and dasseling the eye, with pole perche, rod or lyne: but liftying the hart above the heavens, by invisible lines, and immortall beames: meteth with the reflexion, of the light incomprehensible …»

                                                                 (from his preface to Euclid)[9]

•         •         •

     S. Indian Karnatic vina musio on air radio — writing office looking out over the campus SW off the hill — wind fierce, sky cotton-boll clouded — Sunday noon quietudes —

                                                   hope all is well with you all — let me hear from you as you can — & hope to see you out there sometime abt ¾ of the way through June, or subsequent —

Hang loose

                                                                                    love    Ken

(enclose some prose from the local student newspaper)[10]

I reckon you’ve seen Penrose’s article in current Sci.Amer, on Black Holes? (lot of other goodies in this issue) //[11]



1. Irby to Dorn, 14 May 1972, box 13, folder 137, Edward Dorn Papers, Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

2. Duncan McNaughton (b. 1942), American poet, cofounder of the New College in San Francisco (where he invited Irby to give three lectures on Whitman in the spring of 1986), and close friend and correspondent of Irby’s.

3. Dorn, The North Atlantic Turbine (London: Fulcrum, 1967). In the jacket note for this book, Dorn writes: “In ‘The North Atlantic Turbine,’ the poems since ‘Geography,’ I have tried to locate another hemisphere. And I want this collection to be the last necessity to work out such locations. I think I can now see my way clear to a spiritual address. I don’t feel that possibility as a ‘mellowing’ but more a transfer from an energy factor of my practice to an altogether direct plane of intensity I hope to find my place on. That non-spatial dimension, intensity, is one of the few singular things which interests me now. […] I have begun to do two things already: 1) Follow the vision of ‘Thesis’ (The poem which leads this collection) and 2) explore the mythification of the Gunslinger.” See Dorn, Collected Poems (London: Carcanet, 2012), 924–925.

4. [Irby’s handwritten note]: i.e., that it was decisive there

5. John Dee (1527–1608), Welsh mathematician, alchemist, astrologer, occultist, navigator, and much more.

6. Frederick Delius (1862–1934), English composer, about whom Irby wrote a lengthy poem, collected in the expanded edition of To Max Douglas.

7. John Brown (1800–1852), abolitionist, organizer of Pottawatomie Massacre and the raid on Harper’s Ferry, for which he was hanged.

8. From Dee’s General and Rare Memorials Pertaining to the Perfect Art of Navigation, printed by John Day in 1577.

9. From Dee’s “Mathematicall Praeface to the Elements of Geometrie of Euclid of Megara,” the first English edition of Euclid, translated by Henry Billingsley, in 1570.

10. These documents are not included with the archived letter.

11. Roger Penrose, “Black Holes,” Scientific American 226 (May 1972). In the original letter, this addendum appears in the margin at the top of the first page, directly above the date.