A life celebration of the centennial of the birth of poet, editor, publisher, labor activist, and playwright George Hitchcock (1914-2010) continues this year with the release of two new collections: Hitchcock on Trial and The Wounded Alphabet: Collected Poems of George Hitchcock. Both have the imprint of Portland’s Tavern Books.
Hitchcock on Trial is a chapbook containing the full transcript of his 1957 testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Equal parts political satire, improvisational comedy, and absurdist theater, Hitchcock’s subversive repartee on the stand offers an intrepid, refreshing cross-examination of a most unsavory American moment.
The Wounded Alphabet collects over five decades of published poetry by Hitchcock with twelve early collages illustrated by his own relentless painterly spirit. A surrealist with a vast, playfully serious heart in the universe of poetry, his audacious style is saturated equally with a pure joy for words and a reverence for meaning.
Hitchcock, born in Hood River, Oregon, founded and edited kayak; a poetry journal with a most illustrious twenty-year run from 1964-1984. Highly active in San Francisco’s postwar literary and labor movements, his poetry was published between 1962 and 2002.
Tavern Books is a local non-profit literary publisher to be congratulated for making sure these works are available. Their mission statement says “We exist to print, promote, and preserve works of literary vision, to foster a climate of cultural preservation, and to disseminate books in a way that benefits the reading public.” They focus on reviving out-of-print poetry books and publishing works in translation from around the world. www.tavernbooks.com.