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.
Before Hettie can publish, Amiri’s book appears with her name changed; she is also shunned by contemporaries whenever he’s around. Helene reveals that the dedication to her in Ed’s republished novel has been deleted. Hettie, deciding her memoir may profit young women, continues to write, helped out by her old letters Helene is copying. Helene’s work is illustrated in Boston paper; too reticent to take advantage, she sticks to Gloucester shows. Hettie visits her dying mother in Florida, coincidentally, Helene’s mother, who has dementia, is moved to nursing home; Helene declares she and Hettie are “sisters for real.” In September 1984 Hettie reluctantly accepts job at Hunter College to substitute teach a fiction workshop; Helene is the only one who understands why she doesn’t want to. That fall gentrification hits both: Hettie files for legal tenancy after twenty-two years; Helene, with no protection, faces moving after fifteen years and finally must, by the fall of 1985.