13 July 2009

Black Mountain Book, by Fielding Dawson

Fielding Dawson (1930-2002) is one of the lesser known of the beat writers, and I only discovered him by chance while flicking through Edwidge Danticat's books at Nottingham University library (right next door alphabetically, see?). This book is a rather desultory account - jumping from straightforward narrative to concrete-style poetry through apparently unrelated ramblings - of the author's stay at Black Mountain College, near Asheville, North Carolina.

Much is made of Dawson's respect for his (principal?) teacher Charles Olson and the artist Fritz Kline, although the de Koonings, Robert Creeley, and Jonathan Williams are mentioned a few times. Dawson is quick to voice his admiration for Buckminster Fuller, although there is no other mention of the great man. The sexual activities, both hetero and homo, were interesting, although I skipped over a very laborious erection - the Tobacco Barn.

Nevertheless, this is a really significant insight into the Black Mountain College experiment.

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