Posts tagged 'Dave Haselwood':

Dave Haselwood, 1931-2014

I was saddened to learn the other night that Dave Haselwood, visionary publisher of the Auerhahn Press, passed away on December 30 at his home in Cotati, California. I met Dave once, in January 2013, when I interviewed him in Cotati about his publishing of The Hotel Wentley Poems. Dave received me very warmly and impressed upon me his still vivid memories of arriving in San Francisco fresh from the "Wichita vortex" in 1958—"just out of the Army and cornfed from Kansas," as he put it—and immersing himself in the burgeoning arts scene in Polk Gulch. He and John Wieners met early that summer (at either a Philip Lamantia reading or a Larry Jordan film screening) in the neighborhood, and he began Auerhahn with Wieners's Hotel Wentley later that year.

After our meeting, Dave was always quick to reply, always with insight and encouragement, to my follow-up queries regarding Auerhahn/Wieners minutiae. I had hoped to visit with him again on my next trip to the Bay Area, but, sadly, won't—though I feel grateful and honored for the chance I had to meet him when I did. Of the inception of the Auerhahn Press and his friendship with Wieners, Dave told me that day last January:

We really made a real empathetic connection, because that’s how I’ve worked as a publisher and printer, and that first book set the tone of how I operated, which was you’d read these poems going around, and you’d go "yes, yes," and then you’d get to know the poet and you’d get into a collaborative mode, and then you’d bring in an artist—in this case it was Bob LaVigne, who also lived in the Hotel Wentley, and so that drawing of Wieners [in Hotel Wentley] was done in my room in the Hotel Wentley—so that’s how Auerhahn Press always operated, it was a collaborative effort. And, you know, there were a lot of other poems out there that I could never make that kind of connection with, so I never got involved with those people . . . Well, what sums it up for me was when the book came out, and he and I were gloating over it, I said, "I don’t want the press to be a fly-by-night operation, I want it to really continue." And he said, "Oh, no. It should be fly-by-night." That’s John. Somehow or another that encapsulates John’s mystique and his magic. "No, no—it should be something that secretly happens and then disappears and appears somewhere else." . . . He was a very unique person. I've never known anyone else vaguely like him.

The Auerhahn Press Records are held at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. A Bibliography of the Auerhahn Press, & Its Successor, Dave Haselwood Books, by Alastair Johnston, was published by Poltroon Press in 1976. A small collection of early poems, The Moon Eye and Other Poems, is online at Wichita Beats. Cedar Cigo wrote a great piece about Haselwood & Auerhahn for the Harriet Blog back in 2010. In later years, Dave was a devout practitioner of Zen, and was an ordained Zen priest; the Zen website Cuke.com has a nice page on Dave, with links to his Zen lectures and interviews, here. Rest in peace.

photo credit: Dave Haselwood, Bodega Bay, April 1997