hettie-jones

We’ve teamed up with The Standard, Warby Parker, PEN, and author Hettie Jones to challenge you to write us a short story, no more than one-thousand words, inspired by the Dog Days of Summer.

Among the items you can win are a complimentary copy of our new anthology, Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story, and a complimentary subscription to the magazine. Oh yeah, and a three-night stay at The Standard Spa Miami Beach over Miami Book Fair in November.

Full details at StandardCulture.com.

My folder of poems
labeled “weather” holds
no clues as to whether
or not there’ll be any

weather to count on, say,
a hard rain like “little nails,” or
that deluge “plunging radiant”

now that we’ve plunged into war
and wars don’t stop like rain stops

like that last slow drizzle
onto the old tin bathroom vent

sweet hint of growth
in the soft wet drift north

fire or ice, fire or ice

are you breathing, are you lucky enough
to be breathing
— 

Hettie Jones, Weather

This poem has one of my favorite ending lines ever.

I read ‘Widow Basquiat’ by Jennifer Clement, about the relationship between Suzanne Mallouk and Jean-Michel Basquiat. It’s a really quick, easy to read book. Very moving and detailed and tells you all of the bad things about Jean-Michel which you can completely imagine but haven’t been told before. She talks about drugs and violence and insecurity and vulnerability and it feels very close and accessible and beautiful, I think, and raw… Don’t usually like the word 'raw’ but it seems very raw. There is no other word for that.

I like reading about women who loved 'great’ men. I like hearing their side of the story. Here are some others that I have read and enjoyed:

                       

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Carolyn Cassady, wife of Neal’s, book 'Off the Road’ about her relationships with Neal, Jack Kerouac and friendship with Allen Ginsberg.

                         

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Joyce Johnson’s Minor Characters. Chronicles her two year relationship with Jack Keroauc circa 1956/7

                        

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How I Became Hettie Jones by Hettie Jones, about her relationship with LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. This one is very sad. I guess they’re all very sad, but I really like them. 

Are these books only appealing to women? Can a man read one of them and let me know?

Beaten White

The Beat Generation found itself mystified by the black culture of the time. This mystification granted them agency in manifesting their deepest desires of free-flowing sexuality in what they observed from the black people with which they surrounded themselves. Associating themselves with black people allowed them to further their performance as “The Hipster” or the “White Negro.” The very idea of being “beat” implies a white desire to be black and participate in black cultural norms, such as a wider acceptance of sexuality and jazz, instead of those set by white society, which was more mainstream. Jack Kerouac’s 1957 On the Road romanticizes black culture in this regard. However, Hettie Jones’ 1990 memoir How I Became Hettie Jones emphasizes different aspects of black life through her interracial relationship, which shows a new vision on the Beats’ desire to be black. How I Became Hettie Jones reinterprets Kerouac’s On the Road by demystifying the romanticization of his white desire to be “Negro.”

Read more…

Women of the Beat Generation are in Focus

The Legacy Project at County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph, New Jersey will host a forum on the influential Beat Generation from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22 on the Center Grove Road campus.

The forum, Women of the Beat Generation, will feature author Joyce Johnson and poet Hettie Jones, two significant Beat generation figures.

This is a time period in American literary history that saw writers breaking from the pack and developing their own counter-cultural voices, according to a release from the college.

It will be held in the Davidson Rooms in the Student Community Center.

The program is free and open to the public. A book signing will be held immediately after the forum.

Weather

by Hettie Jones

My folder of poems labeled “weather” holds 
no clues as to whether
or not there’ll be any 

weather to count on, say, 
a hard rain like “little nails," or
that deluge “plunging radiant”

now that we’ve plunged into war
and wars don’t stop like rain stops

like that last slow drizzle
onto the old tin bathroom vent

sweet hint of growth
in the soft wet drift north

fire or ice, fire or ice

are you breathing, are you lucky enough
to be breathing


That’s what I keep asking myself…are you breathing? Are you lucky enough to be breathing?

And the answer is yes.

Beatdom 16 is the MONEY issue of Beatdom, in which we look at the fictional origins of the Burroughs Millions, or rather, the trust fund that supposedly kept William S. Burroughs wealthy enough to live a life of luxury. Beyond this, we look at the childhood of Herbert Huncke, in a piece written by Hilary Holladay, and reconsider the writing styles of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. We also have essays on the lives and work of Hettie Jones and Bonnie Bremser, as well as reconsidering Kerouac’s novels as early New Journalism, rather than fiction. In addition to these excellent essays, we have several short stories and Beat book reviews.

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Meet the Beats:

Hettie Jones (Hettie Cohen) is a beat poet who, as Joyce Johnson notes in Minor Characters, hid her writing in boxes for far too long. She published her first book of poetry, Drivein 1997. Like Johnson, Hettie has contributed to the important recovery of Beat Women by reclaiming her own voice and place in the movement through her memoir How I Became Hettie Jones. 

In 1957, she co founded the little magazine Yugen with, then husband, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka.  By day Hettie worked for the Partisan Review and by night she put her publishing skills to use, editing and compiling the magazine in their kitchen. Their first issue published LeRoi, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Philip Whalen, Frank O'Hara, and William Burroughs. Many of the names we recognize today as famously linked to The Beat Generation would appear throughout its eight issues (Knight Women of the Beat Generation 105).

Hettie has gone on to publish several children’s books and do work with PEN American Center’s Prison Writing Committee. Today she lives, writes, and teaches in New York City.

Some updates on next week’s FIRST BLUES event!

Updated lineup: Allen Ginsberg’s friends, collaborators, relatives and co-conspirators Anne Waldman, Ambrose Bye, CA Conrad, Steven Taylor, Hettie Jones, Arthur’s Landing and others will be at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe for a night of poetry and songs.

50 copies of First Blues will be available, with 100% of proceeds going to Housing Works! One 12" vinyl with 7 tracks. Full digital download of the original 24 tracks as well as a replica of the original newspaper vinyl insert from the first release. Limited release of 500!

AND! Warby Parker is donating a $95 gift certificate which we will be raffling off. Free ticket if you buy a copy of First Blues, additional tickets available for $1, with 100% of proceeds going to Housing Works.

Obviously, this is a can’t miss event for any music, poetry, or spectacles fan.

Once I had
long hair and high hopes
that the pretty boys
would love me forever

Now I know better
……………………….
what do you think
of me, shorn of locks and beliefs

How do you see my
lessening flesh, my grief
……………………….
This is what I’ll become;
ashheap bone pebbles messages

If you want to know me
you better hurry

—  Hettie Jones Seven Songs at Sixty