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Avant-Folk: Small Press Poetry Networks from 1950 to the Present$
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Ross Hair

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781781383292

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781383292.001.0001

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Jonathan Williams: Beyond Black Mountain

Jonathan Williams: Beyond Black Mountain

(p.103) Chapter Three Jonathan Williams: Beyond Black Mountain
Avant-Folk: Small Press Poetry Networks from 1950 to the Present

Ross Hair

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Jonathan Williams’s activities as the editor of the seminal Jargon Society press and as a poet. In both respects, this chapter argues, Williams’s reputation has been distorted as a result of his early association with Black Mountain College and the school of poetry that emerged from it in the late 1950s. Although chapter three examines Williams’s links with the college and the formative influence that its rector Charles Olson had on his poetry and his publishing, it also makes a makes a strong claim for disassociating Williams’s reputation from the exclusive, binding labels of ‘Black Mountain poet’ and ‘Black Mountain publisher.’ Williams, it is argued, expressed considerable aversion to not only being labeled a ‘Black Mountain’ poet but to being associated with any poetry school or movement. Chapter 3 examines the ways in which Williams has resisted and complicated the Black Mountain label, both in his poetry and in his publishing, by paying particular attention to his use of vernacular speech in his poetry and through an abiding fascination with what was initially an imagined England that would become more tangible as a result of his semi-annual residency in England from the late 1960s onwards.

Keywords:   Jonathan Williams, The Jargon Society, Charles Olson, Black Mountain College

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