Emilie Glen (1906-1995) was a staggeringly prolific New York City-based poet, wh0se published work spans five decades with thousands of little magazine and newspaper credits worldwide. Glen's long-time friend and publisher Brett Rutherford has assembled the complete text of all the poet's chapbooks, including hand-bound mimeograph productions from her Greenwich Village coffeehouse days. From the 1960s through the early 1990s, Glen was also famed for hosting the longest-running poetry salon in Manhattan, so some of the eccentrics of the New York poetry scene also make an appearance in the editor's foreword, which includes both a description of the West Village poetry scene of that time, as well as everything we are likely to know about Emilie Glen's early life.
First recognized by H.L. Mencken and published in his American Mercury, she started as a fiction writer and then gravitated to narrative poetry, writing and publishing thousands of poems in magazines around the world. In this first volume of Glen's writings, the editor has gathered the texts of more than 300 poems — all the chapbooks Glen published from her coffeehouse days through her last years: 77 Barrow Street, Mad Hatter, Coffee House Poems, Paint and Turpentine, Dark of Earth, Late to the Kitchen, Up to Us Chickens, Twat Shot, Glenda's Ark, Roast Swan, Hope of Amethyst, Rails Away, and Glenda and Her Guitar, Emilie and Her Piano. This includes the full text of all her Poet's Press chapbooks and books as well as early self-published leaflets and productions from several other presses.
The poems gathered here are a narrative saga of New York high and low, as well as a poignant saga of family sorrows. The best of them are intimate character portraits, short stories compressed into a dramatic, reader-friendly style, poetry the untrained reader need not fear. A keen observer of nature as well as of humanity, Glen delights with her informed short poems on cats, birds, and the occasional mermaid; she is just as much a naturalist in describing life among the tormented actors and actresses in an off-off-Broadway nude theater company. A strong musical thread runs through this collection as well: Glen was a child prodigy pianist and came to New York City to study at The Juilliard School before the poetry Muse asserted her primacy, so Glen's Manhattan is an island of pianos, guitars, harps and orchestras.
This important series belongs in every collection of 20th century American poetry. With cover art by American wood engraver John DePol.