448 pages / $17.00
448 pages / $30.00
George Hitchcock was a surrealist with a vast, playfully serious spirit in the universe of poetry. His is an art of carnivals, parades, and big brass instruments with top-hatted showmanship lit up on the page. His wild, vaudevillian style is saturated with a pure joy for words, but always with a reverence for meaning. The Wounded Alphabet collects over five decades of writing and contains twelve early collages that illustrate his ongoing painterly obsession with the juxtaposition of images.
George Hitchcock was born in Hood River, Oregon, in 1914. A playwright, poet, editor, painter, publisher, and labor activist, he founded and edited kayak, a poetry journal with an illustrious twenty-year run (1964-1984). Hitchcock was highly active in San Francisco's postwar literary and labor movements. His poetry collections—including The Piano beneath the Skin, Cloud-Taxis, and Tactics of Survival—were published between 1962 and 2002. To both his personal craft and his work as a publisher, he brought a special eye for graphics and typography. From 1970 to 1989, he taught writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Hitchcock died August 27th, 2010, in Eugene, Oregon.
"The freshness date on The Wounded Alphabet is stamped with the word ‘eternity.’ George Hitchcock, that dazzling devotee of the image surrealiste, is lovesick with language. His lines so often begin in absurdity and satire, but always end in a lovely, crazy wisdom. ‘Put away / that syllabus you’re on your
own,’ he tells us—excellent advice, as it sets us on the same road to pleasure walked by this unsung master."
— David Rivard