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.
Helene reveals that Massachusetts Common Health allows seniors limited assets, so having savings is impossible. Hettie asked to fill in for an ill teacher at Lang College, leading an intermediate poetry workshop. They write about Fenellosa, translator Ezra Pound; Helene sold her copy when broke. Lucia Berlin writes Helene about having to write for job five pages on her poetics. Hettie proposes a class in Poetic Techniques at SUNY Purchase. Helene confesses to being scattered. Hettie’s narrative concludes that Helene “came along too soon” for art classes. They discuss the word “cute” when Helene mistakes Hettie’s sarcasm for seriousness. Beginning of first Gulf War. At turn of century, Gloucester gentrifying, Helene at seventy-two years is again chased from the house she’s lived in twelve years. Falls, breaks wrist, has concussion. Hettie’s book Drive wins Poetry Society’s First Book Award. Helene goes online. Promised two months’ notice, has to leave in twelve days sans compensation. Displaced. Discarded.