Love, H: The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones
Hettie Jones is the author of numerous books, including her memoir of the Beat scene How I Became Hettie Jones; the poetry collection Drive; and the young adult Big Star Fallin’ Mama: Five Women in Black Music. She has published in many newspapers and magazines, including the Village Voice, Global City Review, and Ploughshares. She currently teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at The New School, the 92nd Street Y, and the Lower Eastside Girls Club, and she previously taught at several colleges and universities in New York and elsewhere. Jones lives in New York City.
The two women’s stories share one point of view: both had “fled the norm for women then, because living it would have been a kind of death.” After two letters prior to 1965, LeRoi’s separation and name change and Hettie’s feelings are revealed, and Helene’s background and first marriage explained. The Dorns move to England. Hettie adjusts to solitary life. Helene worries about her from Colechester, where Ed teaches. Hettie gets and loses editing jobs, a relationship with saxophonist Marion Brown, writes a poem, is employed as writer for an antipoverty agency. Helene worries about England’s effect on her teenagers, has an operation, reveals that Ed is having affair. Newark riots the same night Hettie’s house catches fire. Helene leaves Ed for Spain, then returns to the United States, to Gloucester. Hettie is hospitalized, but after recovery begins, finally, to write and publishes her first children’s book. Helene has her first show. It’s 1971.