Published in collaboration with TKS (an imprint of Granary Books).
Edited by Iris Cushing & Jason Weiss.
JUMPING INTO THE AMERICAN RIVER gathers fifty years of the previously-unpublished poetry of Mary Norbert Korte (1934-2022). Pioneer of New American Poetry, San Francisco Renaissance legend, former Catholic nun, and dedicated environmental activist, Korte's poems are "often rituals in service of creation...Quirky too, even salty, down to earth, yet always with a dose of the sublime." —Anne Waldman
Poetry. Women's Studies.
Mary Norbert Korte (1934-2022) grew up on Mystic Street in Oakland, California. She was drawn to poetry at a young age. At 17, she took nun's vows with the Dominican Catholic Sisterhood, and earned her bachelor's and Master's degrees in Latin while in the convent. Korte attended the 1965 Berkeley Poetry Conference, encountering Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Jack Spicer and Lew Welch, among other poets. This foray into San Francisco Renaissance poetry altered the course of Korte's life. She befriended Michael McClure, David Meltzer, Spicer, and Welch, and developed her own mystically-charged poetics. Korte's first collection of poems, Hymn to the Gentle Sun, was published by Robert Hawley's Oyez Press in 1967. The following year, Korte formally left the Dominican order and embarked on the lay life of the poet. From 1973 onward, Korte lived in Mendocino county, on the bank of the Noyo River. She published five more books, including Mammals of Delight (Oyez, 1978), and became heavily involved in environmental activism, working with Judi Bari and Earthfirst! to save old growth redwoods. Between 1979 and 2009, Korte fought tirelessly to protect a large area of redwood forest at the Noyo headwaters, which is now permanently preserved by the Mendocino Land Trust. Korte was a prolific, compassionate, often hilarious poet.
Iris Cushing is a scholar, educator, editor, and poet living in the Catskill mountains. She is the co-editor, with Jason Weiss, of Mary Norbert Korte's JUMPING INTO THE AMERICAN RIVER: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (Argos Books/TKS, 2023). Her poems and critical writings have appeared in Granta, Fence, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day series. She is the author of THE FIRST BOOKS OF DAVID HENDERSON AND MARY KORTE: A RESEARCH (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2020), and Into the Long Long Time: How Mary Korte Saved the Redwoods (Ink Cap Press, 2019).
Jason Weiss is a writer, editor, and translator living in Brooklyn. His first book was Writing at Risk: Interviews in Paris with Uncommon Writers (Iowa, 1991; Jabès, Cioran, Sarraute, Kundera, Ionesco, Cortá zar, etc), followed by four other books on literature and music, including Steve Lacy: Conversations (Duke, 2006), published mostly by university presses. More recently, he published CLOUD THERAPY (Talisman House, 2015), short nonfiction texts on swimming, and Silvina Ocampo (NYRB, 2015), his translation of selected poems by the Argentine writer. A new book of short nonfiction texts, Listenings, is forthcoming.