The Erudite and the Rude

Susan Tracz, William H. Dickey‘s literary executor describes him as a man of “gentle erudite sophistication”. Certainly an apt description for the Dickey’s three poems collected in the Erotica (Volume 2 of the HyperCard poems).

The erotic work displays a beautiful tension between suggestive words and explicit found images.

The “In Hazard” HyperCard stack has a card that reads:

Night spilling its thick fluid
the music of astonishment over
the pores of his waiting hand

In tone and suggestiveness this harkens back to some of the poems of the Greek Anthology – erotic and erudite.

“In Hazard” ends with a wonderful joke particularly resonant if you were sensitive to the players in American politics of the 80s and 90s:

This poem is dedicated to the memory of the late Senator Jesse Helms, who crashed off the Atlantic coast when his gas bag exploded.

A gem of invective. Again a nod to the heroes of the Greek Anthology.

For a scintillating panel on how the work was preserved and presented to the public, see ELO 2021: “Beyond Range of Air”: The Story Behind the 30-Year Deferred Publication of William H. Dickey’s HyperPoems.

And so for day 2965

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