David Grundy

'never muted heart'

Tom Weatherly's trespass

Maumau American Cantos, Tom Weatherly’s first collection of poetry, possesses one of the best titles for a book of any decade of the twentieth century, and perhaps even for the century as a whole. Yet, three years after his death, his work remains almost completely ignored. In this essay, primarily via readings of poems from the Maumau Cantos, I will hope to show why such neglect is borderline criminal.

Maumau American Cantos, Tom Weatherly’s first collection of poetry, possesses one of the best titles for a book of any decade of the twentieth century, and perhaps even for the century as a whole. Yet, three years after his death, his work remains almost completely ignored. In this essay, primarily via readings of poems from the Maumau Cantos, I will hope to show why such neglect is borderline criminal.[1]

Email to Jerome Rothenberg

NoteThis text is excerpted from an email sent to Jerome Rothenberg in January 2011. — David Grundy 

Uncollected later poems (2009–2014)

Weatherly’s 2011 New Year’s card.

I want to know every thing about the universe. I get a little pissed when I realize won’t live long enough, even a thousand years not enough time. I will learn what I can. — Tom Weatherly on Facebook 

Excerpts from 'short history of the saxophone'

Victor Bockris: Why do you think so many young poets are writing short poems now?

Tom Weatherly: Imitating God.

Victor Bockris: Well, if we’re imitating God, why did poets used to write longer poems? 

Weatherly: God in his old age is more succinct. 
Weatherly interviewed by Victor Bockris in 1974

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

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