M. G. Stephens

These poems are loaded

In the winter of 1968, LeRoi Jones went on trial for possession of guns in Newark. At his trial, the judge cited three poems that had appeared in Evergreen Review as evidence of the defendant’s guilt. A flyer circulated showing Jones handcuffed, wearing a prison uniform, and sporting a gash down his forehead that obviously hadn’t resulted from hitting his head on the typewriter. The caption read: “Poetry Is Revolution / Revolution Is Poetry.”

Editorial note: What follows is an excerpt from a review Stephens wrote of Tom Weatherly’s Maumau American Cantos and Andrei Codrescu’s License to Carry a Gun, a review originally published on page 6 of The Village Voice on December 31, 1970.


Tom Weatherly

M. G. Stephens and Tom Weatherly, mid-1970s. Photo by Nicki Hitz Edson.

Tom Weatherly will also be known for his long tenure at the Strand Bookstore on West 12th Street and Broadway in downtown Manhattan. For many years, he was a fixture working in the basement of the Strand, the gentle giant with the long white beard, looking like a benign character in a fairy tale.

Editorial note: M. G. Stephens’s obituary for Tom Weatherly was originally published in Milk Magazine on July 25, 2014. — Julia Bloch 

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