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“This Book is a True Story”—Now digitized: Riding the One-Eyed Ford by Diane Burns

The long out-of-print chapbook Riding the One-Eyed Ford by Diane Burns (1956 – 2006)—a prominent poet of New York’s Lower East Side—is now digitized and available to read on the Poets House website! Released by Contact II in 1981 and featuring Burns’ own illustrations, this chapbook was the only collection published during her lifetime.

There’s a voice
that scorches stars
and withers starlings on the wing
A voice that
sings ‘49s on rooftops
and drives back demons and talks with spirits
One that blows like plutonium dust
over the rez.

—from “Houston and Bowery, 1981” by Diane Burns

“The poems give breath to what can be understood as ‘time’ or ‘place’ and center Burns’ experience as a dislocated Anishinaabe / Chemehuevi urban NDN, shifting back and forth across what is presently known as the Lower East Side, Chicago, Santa Fe, and Lac Courte Oreilles,” writes poet Nicole Wallace in an introductory essay.

We invite you to read Nicole’s essay, flip through the chapbook, and discover more about Diane Burns’ life and times via other online materials—an interview with Burns’ daughter Britta Ruona and friend Bob Holman; a reminiscence by Josh Gosciak, co-editor of Contact II with Maurice Kenny; and videos of Burns performing her poems. Riding the One-Eyed Ford is the latest installment in our series Chapbooks of the Mimeo Revolution, which digitizes works from the 1960s to the early 1980s.

We also welcome you to join us online for three programs this week related to Diane Burns and the Chapbooks of the Mimeo Revolution series:

Please join us for this week of celebrating poets, chapbooks, and small presses!


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