Fifteen Poems

At once fierce, determined, and poignant… A magic then comes into it, a would-be witchcraft in spirit.
—Robert Duncan, 1973

Fifteen Poems is a republication of  a lyrical sequence of poems that Bobbie Louise Hawkins wrote and read in 1971 in Bolinas. This book includes an introduction by Robert Duncan (1973) and an interview of Hawkins and Barbara Henning talking about the poems and the context (2012).

“Hawkins first read these poems publicly at a reading with poet Joanne Kyger in San Francisco in 1971 shortly after writing them. Robert Duncan attended the reading and was struck by her poem “The Thought That Was Called Helen” afterward he asked for a copy of the poem because, as he said, “I wanted to see whether you were taking material from H.D., but this is the Gnostic Helen”.  Hawkins’ poem attests to a feminine identity which Duncan understood and appreciated. These poems mark the beginning of her start as a writer emerging out from the shadows cast by male peers.”
—Patrick James Dunagan review for HTML Giant. (October 7, 2012).

Interview & Discussion with Bobbie Louise Hawkins: By Barbara Henning
When I was at Naropa for the Summer Program in June 2011, Bobbie  came to my prose chat and we planned to get together later in the week. Meanwhile, in the poetics library, I picked up a copy of her novel, One Small Saga, and read it that same night.  It is beautifully written prose with poetic disjunction and rhythm, the story of a young artist on a journey to Belize with her new husband. I wanted to interview Bobbie about the book; unfortunately she was ill and I wasn’t able to see her that week. So we conducted our interview over the telephone. One phone call can lead to another, one book to another. While interviewing Bobbie and transcribing, it sometimes seemed as if I were orchestrating a series of new narratives.  Walter Benjamin writes, “Every morning brings us the news of the globe, and yet we are poor in noteworthy stories.” Within this interview there are many new noteworthy Bobbie Louise Hawkins stories.
—Barbara Henning, New York City, 2012