Ed Dorn’s Gunslinger I

Blue Bricks

Ed Dorn’s poem evoked different aspects of Westerns and reflected on them ironically. While reading it I was repeatedly thinking about Frederic Jameson’s take on Postmodern literature as a kind of pastiche. Though Jameson, I think, suggests that pastiche is “blank parody” and discounts the possibility of laughter, I found Dorn’s poem quite funny actually.

Interestingly, the narrative begins with “the curtain might rise…” as if it were the beginning of some play. Most of the poem recounts dialogues among the narrator (the mortal), the Gunslinger, Lil and the Horse, so in a way there’s this dramatic aspect to the poem. However, the narrator is recounting all the action and the dialogues in retrospect. I also thought that there has been a lot of thought put into how the verse sounds: may be that has to do with orality of dramatic performances? There are some onomatopoeic words but even apart…

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