Sunday, July 17, 2005

Where Are They Now? Lost Poets of the 70's: J.D. Whitney's Bad Ass Handlebars


Well, this may be it, folks. There are some unsnarked photos in the anthology still, but I don't know if any of them fit the bill for our "Lost Poets" series. I've been loathing posting the last of these, because it's by far our most popular feature here at the Snark, and I have no idea what I'll replace it with. Lost poets of the 80s? Anybody got an anthology with some good pictures? Anyway, on to today's bard: J.D. Whitney.

J.D. is short for Jack Daniels Whitney. He was kicked out of the Hell's Angels for tatooing a crown of sonnets onto a fellow Angel's back while he slept. They would have let it slide, but the sonnets employed too many metrical exceptions and didn't even rhyme (most bikers are "New Formalists"). Downtrodden, J.D. took a job with the cast of Lavern and Shirley as Lenny's stunt double. But the job didn't allow enough creative freedom, and Squiggy was a real dick. So Whitey quit and took to the road on his chopper with a knapsack full of verse and a bad attitude. Arrested in Boise for ripping off a liquor store while reciting Keats, J.D. wrote this poem from prision, where he languishes, reliving those halcyon days of hot poetry groupies and the long open road.

I'm counting on all our fearless snarkers to chip in on this one. Please explicate J.D.'s masterpiece for us, and while you're at it, what do you think was on his mind when this photo was taken? Or when he decided to use is as his author photo in the anthology?

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This photo is the worst yet. The others had bad hair or looked like geeks, but this one is pure pose. It reminds me of the jacket photo of Joshua Clover standing in front of snowboard with dark shades on. Poseur!

9:11 AM, July 18, 2005  
Blogger Adam Hardin said...

Fat Elvis and Neil Diamond and Peter Fonda say, "Whoa, son, trim those sideburns."

10:07 AM, July 18, 2005  
Anonymous Morgan said...

Oh, come on. Is this really any more interesting than those anthologies of bad verse (Very Bad Poetry; The Stuffed Owl Anthology)?

Boring. Passé. Not worth the energy to produce the snark.

2:01 PM, July 18, 2005  
Blogger Adam Hardin said...

How about that margin and spacing action? The words are unruly on the page, and have rebelled against traditional margins and spacing.

The "&" symbol needs its own line. Should have left it out.

This was the 70's. Imagine if he had had Microsoft Word. Imagine the power of Font in his hands.

Caught rythmes with hot, and then hot plays against a shiver(cold). Wow, the wordplay.

At least he didn't write this as a Sound and the Fury Incestuous Tragedy Poem which 99% of MFA dullards would have. There are no dark secrets and hinting symbolism that Daddy likes "to touch."

The last line is good. You just wish it had a poem to go with it.

6:40 PM, July 18, 2005  
Anonymous f. trunkhatch said...

No, I'm pretty sure that is none other than X frontman turned solo artist John Doe. For further evidence, see the film "Roadside Prophets," which will illuminate why he is in fact thinking, "There are six Motel 9s in Greeley? Fucking a."

8:33 AM, July 19, 2005  
Anonymous renata said...

obscured by the angle of the photo, on the other side of the neck, is a jobkiller tattoo of a fountain pen dripping a single teardrop of ink

9:27 AM, July 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a bad poem in that everyday daily William Carlos Williams meets Robert Creeley kind of way. Sounds to me like J.D. Whitney has read a few books and is (was) a very involved father.

If this is the same J.D. Whitney that my cousin went to Andover with, then he's a member of "the" Whitney family of New York City (as in the Whitney Museum of American Art).

That's right fellow snarkers, J.D.'s greased hair and working class 'tude are a total pose....but this time the joke's on us.

Penniless but yours,

The Real Anonymous

10:43 AM, July 19, 2005  
Blogger Lon Silliman said...

Actually, compared to what one may read of recent stuff this isn't half bad. Any one who lived through the seventies knows what it's all about.

As for a "pose." Well, what about James Merril's time with the Crips?

1:42 PM, July 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uh, you know, most of these folks ain't really lost, you're just making fun of their hair and doing workshop sarcasm. Here is Whitney's current cv,
for example. Why not try and contact them and insult them to their faces? It would be so much more fun.

6:30 PM, July 19, 2005  
Blogger Lon Silliman said...

Tell you the truth I always wanted sideburns like that. Could never grow 'em. And there was someting about that inability that, I felt, disturbed the ladies of the decade of unilateral hecatomb. I was, in their eyes, not quite a real man of that seventies. That is why many a night I would just stay at home and think about Bernard Malamud.

4:53 AM, July 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Workshop Sarcasm." I like that.

Tag, you're it (him)!



The Real Anonymous

8:23 AM, July 20, 2005  
Anonymous renata said...

well, you cannot be a free spirit in wisconsin unless you wait antsily for the snow to melt, then dash out to take a helmetless ride on your harley (twice around the mall then back in the garage) earning you a year's worth of cred to be cashed out by wearing weather inappropriate biker paraphanelia, whenever, wherever

8:57 AM, July 20, 2005  
Blogger Lon Silliman said...

And he probably didn'y go to Andover -- since he would have then gone to Henry Ford Community College. Not done.

You are thinking of the Whitneys -- descendants ff Eli Whitney and now gadding about the Twin Cites for sure. A hotel named after the family, lawyers connected at high levels and so on. I can report that they are flourishing.

2:47 PM, July 20, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J.D. is still poseying check out WHAT GRANDMOTHER SAYS. same guy, much older. also, he is a professor at the University of Wisconsin.

7:20 PM, October 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J.D. IS a professor at on of the UofW State schools. A LONG time ago I was a student of his @ U of W Platteville. He was riding a single lung BSA..now has something else..spoke with him about 2 years ago ...just for the heck of it..

5:02 PM, February 15, 2007  

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