Charles Bernstein

David Grundy: 'mistish liftings'

N. H. Pritchard manuscript notes

East Village Other, from Pritchard, “The Vein,” 1968

Thanks to David Grundy for this Pritchard update:

After years of neglect, 2021 was an auspicious year for the work of N. H(Norman) Pritchard II,  with the long-awaited reprinting of his two published volumes, The Matrix: Poems 1960–1970 and EECCHHOOEES by Ugly Duckling Presse/Primary Information and DABA Press respectively. In July, Jacket2 published a 1978 interview with Pritchard conducted by Judd Tully, providing an acute insight into Pritchard’s philosophy, and a far more detailed biographical picture than has been previously available. Nonetheless, there are still many gaps to fill in. In particular, Pritchard’s extensive writings and visual artworks remain unpublished. The following note provides a brief outline of these writings based on available evidence in the hope of contributing to our ongoing sense of Pritchard’s legacy. A forthcoming article will expand on some of this in more detail.

The Dada Andrews Sisters — 'Six Jerks in a Jeep'

The Andrews Sisters perform Sid Robin’s zany novelty song, let’s call it zoot-suit Dada for the “bleeps” enlisting in the US Army to fight the Nazis. Not quite Spike Jones’s “Der Fuehrer’s Face,” but even so, Robin pays tribute to the the unheroic “schlemiels” that’re gonna win the war. The jeep weeps for the jerks/wacks/quacks/creeps who are on their way to fight and die. “Six Jerks in a Jeep” combines slang and scat with rhyming abandon. It’s Nude Formalism as comic propaganda. 

At the risk of tarpooing the jouissance, the self-deprecation here is transvaluation. You have to be a jerk to go to war, knowing it’s not only hell but futile; knowing it’s the schmoes who end up on the front line while the privileged stay safe far from the action And yet, three cheers for them (them is us). 

The song was included in the 1942 WWII Army recruitment film, Private Buckaroo. Robin, a private, originally wrote it for a GI review. It didn’t make it onto an Andrews Sister Decca album and so remains one of their lesser known songs. But it’s pure lyric gold.

The transcription is mine: {stanzas bracketed} are in full recording [also YouTube] but not in movie clip. If you have any corrections, let me know. 

Six Jerks In A Jeep

N. H. Pritchard: 1978 interview

Norman Pritchard, September 6, 1978 in his Brooklyn library/study. Photo © George Malave, may not be reproduced without permission.

Judd Tully interviewed N. H. (Norman) Pritchard on Sept. 11, 1978. The ninety-minute conversation is informative and engrossing, offering more information about Pritchard than has been previously available. Pritchard was a poet in the CETA / Cultural Council Foundation Artists Project in New York and Tully, a CETA writer, interviewed him as part of the program. PennSound is happy to make this recording, made as part of the Artists Project, available, thanks to Tully and to Molly Garfinkel of CityLore. Records of Pritchard's CETA assigments are here. For upated information on Pritchard's manuscripts, see David Grundy's report.

George-Thérèse Dickenson (1951–2021)

1977, Gay Community News

1977, Gay Community News

Poet, editor, and activist George-Thérèse Dickenson died June 15, 2021 in New York. The cause was a brain hemorrhage, according to her brother, John Dickenson.

With Will Bennett, Dickenson edited the magazine Assassin in the late 1970s.
She published two books:
Striations, from Good Gay Poets (Boston, 1976)
Transducing, from Segue (New York, 1986)

George-Thérèse Dickenson was born October 23, 1951, in Napa, CA, daugher of Howard George Dickinson, a lawyer, and Joanne DePuy (maiden name Cardiff), a wine and travel entrepreneur from Altadena, CA. Dickenson was a graduate of Wellesley College. After a brief stint at UC-Berkeley, she moved to Vermont and then Boston in the early 1970s, where she became involved with the anarchist circle around Murray Bookchin. She also connected with a group of poets. In the late 1970s, she  moved to lower Manhattan, where, over the next decade, Dickenson was closely involved with Larry Estridge and Peter Seaton. During that time, she taught poetry in the prisons through Janine Pommy Vega’s Incisions Arts Project. Her poems were included in a related anthology, Candles Burn in Memory Town: Poems from Both Sides of the Wall, edited by Vega (Segue/Incisions, 1988). While in New York, she struggled with substance abuse. During Dickenson's last decades,  she was living in a mountaintop cabin in a nudist colony in Stockton, NJ. She is survived by her mother and her brothers John and Chuck (pictures above) and her longtime partner Bobby Astarita.

Poem for Henri Deluy by Douglas Messerli

Eric Giraud (left), Liliane Giraudon, Jean-Jacques Viton (May 24,1933–March 14, 2021), Susan Bee, me, Henri Deluy: Marseille, November 22, 2016.

Henry Deluy  (April 25, 1931–July 20, 2021)

Saddened to have lost the great poet, publisher, and literary organizer and friend, Henri Deluy. Here’s a poem I wrote “after” his writing in the Sun & Moon book, Carnal Love.
— Douglas Messerli