Now Let Us Praise Fascinating Women

The interesting thing is that these three women will likely not appreciate my mentioning them all together, at once. They seem to be estranged from one another now, which is a damn shame. We writers grow old, time passes, circumstances drive us apart, and our friendships wither, decline, they even die premature deaths.And every dead friendship is a premature death, is it not? For love, comradeship, and affection to pass away, for these things to cease to pass between us and for them to leave before we do, seems to me premature, and tragic. But such are the vicissitudes of Detroit artists, writers, musicians, and wanderers. Vievee Francis, Perri Giovannucci, and Janet Lawless were at one time and probably more than one time, dear friends, but all three women have parted ways, and gone off on their own trajectories, but all three of these women are fascinating and gifted artists from the Detroit School, and specifically from the 1980-90's Detroit School of writing. I want to group all three under the heading, "Post Aesthetics" but not all three of them would appreciate that; maybe none of them would. Well, I want to, anyway.Jessie Knowells, writer and musician, used to wander up and down Cass Corridor in a long, woolen coat of 1940's design, his dreadlocks obscuring his face, and would drop into some cafe, some bar where everybody was hanging out, read poetry on stage, then disappear back out into the snow. Willie Williams would inevitably take a picture of him as he slipped back out. Allen Adkins would be sitting over in a dark corner near the jukebox hunched over a poem he was writing in pencil on the back of cardboard light bulb package, or some such odd media as that. I say 'poem,' but what Allen wrote could hardly be summarized with so simple, so orthodox a word as that. Allen did paste ups of cut out text combined with photos, adverts, and newsprint he siezed and appropriated from magazines, newspapers, and product labels. In short, he did DaDa poetry that would have made Andre Breton proud. He was the strangest and most wonderful poet I ever met. Willie has pictures of him, I'm sure.

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