Here are Steve Bunch's Lawrence literary memories of the Rock Chalk Cafe, which served Ed Dorn, the Fugs, Allen Ginsberg, many other literati over the years. It begins:
"Edward Dorn's poem "The Cosmology of Finding Your Spot" celebrated the Rock Chalk and its denizens (http://www.vlib.us/beats/dorn.html ) and was published (typos and all) as a broadside in connection with a reading in support of the Draft Resisters League in 1969. The reading occurred just across the street from the Rock Chalk, at the United Campus Christian Fellowship building. As I recall, Robert Bly also read that evening. Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Galway Kinnell, and Diane Wakoski also came through Lawrence that spring."
I remember the reading at the UCC, and how suave Dorn was, how cooly activist. His wife Jennifer Dorn was with him, also a respected poet, and she impressed me. Do I remember what he read? Yes--parts of Gunslinger he was working on at the time. He made me think differently about history of the West, my home region. It was a long way from Gunsmoke and Palladin, although there were some of the same characters. He had a grasp of the history that informed his discussion as well of the poets, and I admired that. Here is a review from the Guardian by Patrick McGuinnis of Gunslinger, and it begins:
"Gunslinger is perhaps the strangest long poem of the last half-century: a quest myth wrapped around an acid-inspired western comic strip adventure in which a gunslinger, astride a drug-taking, talking horse called Levi-Strauss, searches for Howard Hughes ("they say he moved to Vegas / or bought Vegas and / moved it. / I can't remember which"). Charles Olson had insisted, in the wake of Pound, that where Europe had history to make poetry with, America must take geography. Dorn's contribution to the Great American Long Poem – Pound's Cantos, WC Williams's Paterson, Olson's Maximus … – was Gunslinger, which appeared in five sections over six years. The American west was Dorn's imaginative home, and his poem is an extraordinary feat of imagination, humour, allusion and lyric invention. It takes the standard fare of a good if surreal western (brothel madams, saloon brawls and gunfights) and melds it with high philosophical riffs."