front cover of Calligraphy Typewriters
Calligraphy Typewriters
The Selected Poems of Larry Eigner
Larry Eigner, Edited and introduced by Curtis Faville and Robert Grenier, Foreword by Charles Bernstein
University of Alabama Press, 2016
The first and only single-volume collection of Larry Eigner’s most significant poems, gathering in one place the most celebrated of the several thousand poems that constitute his remarkable life’s work

Larry Eigner began writing poetry at age eight and was first published at age nine. Revered by poets and artists across a broad spectrum of generations and schools, Eigner’s remarkably moving poetry was created through enormous effort: because of severe physical disabilities, he produced his texts by typing with only one index finger and thumb on a 1940 Royal manual typewriter, creating a body of work that is unparalleled in its originality.
Calligraphy Typewriters showcases the most celebrated of Eigner's several thousand poems, which are an important part of the Black Mountain/Projectivist movement that began in the 1950s and which remain a primary inspiration for many younger writers, including those in the Language movement that began in the 1970s. In its two sections—Swampscott and Berkeley, named for the two locales where Eigner lived and worked—the volume traces his fantastic perception of the ordinary and his zeal for language. Eigner’s use of visual space, metaphor, and description provide fascinating insights into both his own life and the world that surrounded him. This volume maintains the distinctive visual spacing of his original typescripts, reminders of his method, aesthetic sensibility, and creative ability to compose on the typewriter.
A collection that reimagines the ordinary, Calligraphy Typewriters is the definitive selection of Eigner’s poems, and will serve well not only poets and students of poetry, but readers and writers of every vein.

front cover of Finding the Weight of Things
Finding the Weight of Things
Larry Eigner's Ecrippoetics
George Hart
University of Alabama Press, 2022

An innovative study of how a prescient poet imagined ecology and embodiment
Larry Eigner (1927–1996) wrote thousands of poems in his lifetime, despite profound physical limitations caused by cerebral palsy. Using only the thumb and index finger of his right hand, Eigner generated a torrent of urgent and rich language, participating in vital correspondences as well as publishing widely in literary magazines and poetry journals.
While Eigner wrote before the emergence of ecopoetics, his poetry reflected a serious engagement with scientific writing and media, including Rachel Carson’s seminal Silent Spring. Eigner was writing about environmental disasters and climate change long before such concerns took on a moral incumbency. Similarly, Eigner was ahead of his time in his exploration of disability. The field of disability studies has expanded rapidly in the new millennium. Eigner was not an overtly biographical poet, at least as far as his physical limitations were concerned, but his poetry spoke volumes on the idea of embodiment in all its forms.
Finding the Weight of Things: Larry Eigner’s Ecrippoetics is the first full-length study of Eigner’s poetry, covering his entire career from the beginning of his mature work in the 1950s to his last poems of the 1990s. George Hart charts where Eigner’s two central interests intersect, and how their interaction fueled his work as a poet-critic—one whose work has much to tell us about the ecology and embodiment of our futures. Hart sees Eigner’s overlapping concerns for disability, ecology, and poetic form as inextricable, and coins the phrase ecrippoetics here to describe Eigner’s prescient vision.


front cover of Letters to Jargon
Letters to Jargon
The Correspondence between Larry Eigner and Jonathan Williams
Edited and Introduced by Andrew Rippeon
University of Alabama Press, 2019
Gathers some of the most intimate, personal writing on life and the art of poetry by a crucial figure in late twentieth-century American letters
Celebrated by both the Black Mountain poets in the 1950s and 1960s and the Language poets in the 1970s and 1980s, Larry Eigner’s poems occupy an important place in American poetry and poetics, and his reputation and legacy grow seemingly stronger with each passing year. Letters to Jargon collects all of the known correspondence between Larry Eigner and Jonathan Williams, the influential publisher of Jargon Society Press and himself a poet.
Eigner’s correspondence with Williams began in the early 1950s, as the two were in conversation over the manuscript of On My Eyes, published by Jargon in 1960. Their correspondence continued for many years thereafter, extending into the period when Eigner’s work started to gain recognition from the nascent movement that would become known as “Language” writing.
The letters are quite broad in their range of reference and provide a fuller context for Eigner’s poetry and thinking. Eigner and Williams discuss their own poetic practices, including the source material for specific poems, general writing practices, and small press and little magazine publication. This volume offers considerable insight into their shared literary communities as Eigner reports on his readings in contemporary poetry and poetics, as well as his correspondence and contact with other poets including Charles Olson, Vincent Ferrini, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Robert Grenier, and Barrett Watten.
Also recorded are Eigner’s reactions to current events and explications of his own poems, including the contexts for appropriated lines and distinctions of character spacing. Eigner also shares with Williams details of his home life, his financial difficulties and the daily challenges of his cerebral palsy. Finally, the book features a series of images of the original letters, enabling readers to see Eigner’s specific material-textual practices.

front cover of Sustaining Air
Sustaining Air
The Life of Larry Eigner
Jennifer Bartlett
University of Alabama Press, 2023
The biography of a poet seminal to postwar American poetry
The poet Larry Eigner (1927–1996) was a key figure in New American poetry, which grew out of the Black Mountain School and San Francisco Renaissance, and a major influence on the Language poets. Eigner also had cerebral palsy as the result of an accident at birth. It is fortuitous that the poet lived his life in two locations vibrant in both poetics and disability activism. Except for brief periods attending camp and school, he lived with his parents in Swampscott, Massachusetts, until the age of 51. Later, he moved to Berkeley, California, at the height of the disability rights movement. In the 1950s, Eigner attended Camp Jened, which later became famous in the film Crip Camp.

Bartlett’s biography covers every significant phase of Eigner’s life: his childhood and young adulthood when he began typing poems with one finger on the manual typewriter that was a bar mitzvah gift; his first publications and the maturation of his poetic interests through correspondence with poets of the era; and after his move to Berkeley, the ever-expanding circle of friends, poets, caretakers, and collaborators he established there. The result is a deeply insightful account of an utterly distinctive voice whose influence widens and deepens with each new generation that encounters him.

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