I love this Jonathan Williams photo of Denise Levertov from 1957. I always think Levertov is going all Marianne Moore. The must be a story behind this photo and I am dying to read Levertov's letters to Duncan, maybe they shed some light on this image. To be perfectly honest, I know nothing about Levertov and even less about Moore but to me Levertov is channelling Moore in this photo. Or maybe Hester Prynne. The Williams photographs from this period are superb. An iconic shot for a poet that has failed to leave a mark on me. I have always wondered why Levertov made it into Allen's New American Poetry. Her poetry seem to me as tightly bound as her turtle neck. Diane Di Prima and Joanne Kyger would have been better choices.
That said Overland to the Islands looks fanastic. Books like this are the reason I want to collect Jargon up to 1960. I draw the line with the Cornith/Jargon reprint of The Maximus Poems. Maximus 1-10 and Maximus 11-22 are so tangible. They feel extravagant. The Cornith/Jargon edition feels cheap and the reprint really cheapens the earlier editions. It seems almost mass market to me.
But Overland to the Islands possesses a richness. Like Zukofsky's Some Time. Jargon at its best. They stand out as objects to be held, to be fondled. They are seductive, printed in scarlet letterpress. I am bitten by the press's kiss. I desire the early Jargon titles deeply.