The first, and I think the only, time I heard Ed Dorn was on a KPFA broadcast way back in the 1970's, and quite by accident. Dorn had given a reading of North Atlantic Turbine, the whole book, and it was a very clear occasion, his enunciation was immaculate and clear and intelligent, except that he sounded like one of, maybe one of the most, sardonic men I'd ever listened to. Just filled with anger and bitterness and hard ironies. Certainly it rivaled Olivier's performance of Richard III's opening speech. Did he mean well? Could he be so perturbed about a system of trade that had exchanged rum for sugar for slaves, round and round, a hundred years late, and later? How was care to find its object?
But an author may undergo successive transformations of character during a lifetime. Literary history is full of examples: John Dos Passos, or John Steinbeck, two serious novelists who began as sympathetic populists, and ended as cantankerous old reactionaries. Over a lifetime of dispute and critical haggling, fatigue and frustration often set in. "The Air of June Sings" strikes my ear as pure and unadulterated, the young parent walking with his children (much as in the other poem "The Rick of Green Wood"), inspired to meditate in an antique mode, like a wreathe of spirit-mist among the lichen-encrusted gravestones, "lead me away/to the small quiet stones of the unpreposterous dead and leave/me my tears for Darling we love thee," (addressed to whom?).