Jonathan Williams, poet, essayist, and publisher of Jargon Society, died Sunday in Asheville following a long illness. We published a collection of his short prose, called The Magpie’s Bagpipe, at North Point Press.

Williams attended Black Mountain College and began Jargon Society in the early 1950s. The press published such writers as Charles Olson, Kenneth Patchen, Denise Levertov, Paul Metcalf, and Guy Davenport.

“I am frankly a bourgeois living in seclusion in the country, busy with literature, and asking nothing of anyone, not consideration, nor honor, nor esteem,” he said in an interview. “I jump into the water to save a good line of poetry or a good sentence of prose from anyone. But I don’t believe, on that account, that humanity has need of me, any more than I have need of it.”

The Deracination
Jonathan Williams

definition: root

“a growing point,
an organ of absorption, an aerating organ,
a good resevoir, or
means of support”

veronica glauca, order Compositae,
“these tall perennials with
corymbose cymes of bright-purple heads of
tubular flowers
with conspicuous stigmas”

O do not know the Ironweed’s root,
but I know it rules September

and where the flowers tower
in the wind there is a burr of
sound empyrean . . . the mind
glows and the wind drifts . . .

epiphanies pull up
from roots

epiphytic, making it up

out of the air.