Recollections of Gran Apachería – Ed Dorn (1974)


“… Those years, the early to mid-seventies, were years of intense, blazing clarity for [Ed] Dorn. Gunslinger and 1974’s lyrical analysis of the Apaches last years of ‘external resistance’, Recollections of Gran Apacheria, represented the poet writing in such a state of audacious grace, the upheavals of the time, the drugs, the new post-Vietnam conformities, couldn’t attach themselves to his liberated psyche. He was burning through the era a man on fire. It is barely beneath the surface of the language of these two works and especially in Gran Apacheria where Dorn finally encounters his Spirit of Place. … Recollections of Gran Apacheria came out in two editions in 1974. One was the famous (or infamous) softcover comic book version published by his buddies at the Turtle Island Foundation in San Francisco, cover art by Michael Myers. The other was the hardcover,  more conservative, brown cloth edition with artwork again by Michael Myers with just a trace of the flamboyance and humor of the comic book cover. (On this cover, ping-pong paddles are dubious stand-ins for prickly pear pads). Actually, to the casual observer, Myers’ comic book cover seems to have little to do with the contents, its overall effect being more of anarchy and surrealism than an accurate or thoughtful representation of Dorn’s Apacheria: ‘a man in bow tie and roller skates sits astride a very strange steer, complete with a gas tank cap on a rear flank; he is loaded down with the detritus of civilization, including golf clubs, a telephone book of greater Chicago, a flashbulb news camera, motel towel for saddle blanket, a canteen case where, in place of a canteen, a clock has been enclosed. Michael Myers, the illustrator who worked with Dorn at this time, presents the white man as a complete other against the surrounding desert.’ … In Gran Apacheria, Dorn refers to the Apache in a slightly unconventional manner. … The chiefs Nana, Victorio, Juh, as well as the warrior Geronimo, led their people across the unquenchable terrain, the desert floors, through the endurance and abstinence, “the portable forge of summer . . /once more to the Sierra Madre/once more past the jaws of your hungry god/the frenzy of survival rushing from our pores.’ …”
“Acetylene Sunsets: Edward Dorn’s Recollections of Gran Apacheria” By John Macker
Jacket #2: Introduction to Edward Dorn
Tom Clark – Geronimo in Exile (Edward Dorn: Recollections of Gran Apacheria)
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