Alfred Starr Hamilton, 2: Bibliography in Progress


ASH 1914-2005

An introduction to this bibliography can be found here:  Alfred Starr Hamilton, 1: Biographical notes and reflections.  I first put this online in November, 2001, updating it from time to time until 2004 or 2005.  This latest edition has a few additions and I hope readers will contribute as well.


Sphinx. Kumquat Press, Montclair, NJ 1968
Published by Geof Hewitt. 

Kumquat Press apparently still exists and you can reach them at: Kumquat Press, P.O. Box 51, Calais, VT 05648. Hewitt is himself a poet who leads workshops across the state of Vermont. He’s been a juried member of the Vermont Arts Council since 1971.

The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton.  Introduction by Geof Hewitt. Drawings by Philip Van Aver. The Jargon Society, Penland, NC 1970 

“Al Hamilton is the kind of poet everybody says they’d like to be.  He doesn’t apply for grants and has probably never heard of the national Council on the Arts.  He doesn’t teach in a college or write reviews or wash dishes in a diner and other odd jobs.  He writes poetry.  All he does is write poetry.”

The Jargon Society
PO Box 15458
Winston-Salem, NC 27113

The Big Parade. The Best Cellar Press, Lincoln, Neb. 1982

“This book is published as a special issue of the poetry magazine PEBBLE. This is issue number 22.”

Best Cellar Press

Greg Kuzma, Editor
Department of English
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588

(The next two books appeared after my ASH website ceased to exist)

Send This to the Immune Officer.  Commentary etc. by Lisa Borinsky.  Weird New Jersey, Inc., Bloomfield, NJ 2010

Letters from ASH to the Montclair Police Dept. with commentary.  A fascinating and compelling read.

A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind:  The Poems of Alfred Star Hamilton.  Edited by Ben Estes and Alan Felthensal.  Introduction by Geoff Hewitt.  The Song Cave, 2013

A great collection of poems.  It’s well-made and the occasional use of black pages, the title and the intro by Hewitt all recall the Jargon book.  It’s also got another photo by Kalisher on the cover, apparently from the same session as the one used in the Jargon book.  It also has an autobiographical blurb by Hamilton written for Quickly Aging Here (1969).

John Latta mentions the following two works as well, but I’m not sure if they’re books or chapbooks, broadsides?  Any info out there?  I got the the following info from WorldCat.

An orange drink at Nedick’s.  Crawlspace, Belvidere Ill., 1985

War and Peace: poems.  Blue Moon, Tuscon AZ [?], 1960 [?]

The presence of the references on WorldCat give no indication of the length of these books and I suspect the date of  War and Peace is incorrect.  The publishers do exist, hower.

Magazines / Journals

Epoch.  Fall 1962 Vo. XII, No.3  Cornell University:  “Crabapples”

Monk’s Pond. No. 1 Spring 1968.  Trappist, KY:  “Poems from Salvation Army” 

Judging from Hamilton’s correspondence with Merton, 6 poems were included. 

Workshop 25. Fall, 1975. Bob Arnold, Ed.

I don’t know what poems are included.

American Poetry Review. March/April, 1976:  “Color Lines,” “Moon,” “To Father Coughlin,” “Pink Ponds;” p.13

“I am immune.”

Poetry Now. Volume III. Numbers 3-6 (Issues 15-18), 1976:  “Our Flag,” “The Pool,” “Wilkes Barre, Pa.,” “Broom Factory,” “Visitations,” “War;” p. 60-61

Journal of New Jersey Poets. Volume XVII. Number 2, 1995:  “Mirrorland,” “Beautiful,” “A Town without a Soul;” p. 1-3


Quickly Aging Here: Some of the Poets of the 1970’s. Geof Hewitt, Ed. New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1969.

Bleb Twelve. Gardner, Geoffrey, Ed. New York, NY: Bleb, 1977.

Thus Spake the Corpse : An Exquisite Corpse Reader 1988-1998 : Volume 2. Andrei Codrescu & Laura Rosenthals, Eds: “God,” “February,” & “New York City Public Library Lions.”

Bluestones and Salt Hay. An Anthology of Contemporary New Jersey Poets. Joel Lewis, ed. Rutgers University Press, 1990. Foreword by Anne Waldman. 

HAMILTON, Alfred Starr  1914-

PERSONAL:  Borne June 14, 1914, in Montclair, N.J.; son of Alfred Starr and Virginia (Gildersleeve) Hamilton. Education:  Attended high school in Montclair, N.J. Politics:  Socialist.  Religion:  “Immune.”  Home and office:   41 South Willow St., Montclair, N.J. 07042.
CAREER:  Poet.  Military service:  U.S. Army, 1942-43.
WRITINGS:  Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton, Jargon Press, 1970.  Contributor to Epoch, New Directions, Foxfire, New Letters, Archive, and Greenfield Review.
SIDELIGHTS:  Hamilton has hitchhiked through forty-three states.

source:  Contemporary Authors:  A bio-bibliographical guide to current writers in fiction, general nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, motion pictures, television, and other fields. Volumes 53-56. 1975: p.264

About Alfred Starr Hamilton

The New York Times.  April 13 and May 25, 1975

On April 13 Jonathan Williams has “The Guest Word” in the New York Times Book Review.  He berates James Dickey for high reading fees and praises Hamilton.  The article repeats the Hamilton story told by Hewitt and makes a plea on his behalf for money, adding that for 1975 he only needs about $2,000.  A Spartan existence is outlined.  The details differ, but it is essentially the same story given by Geof Hewitt in his intro to The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton.

“I’m not immune.  I’m just out in the open.  There aren’t as many bees as there used to be.”

On May 25 Williams writes in to report that Hamilton donations have come to the tune of $5,600 dollars.

“His Poetry Was Odd, but His Letters to the Police Were Odder.” The New York Times. Peter Aplebome. 23 Aug 2010. Accessed 06/11/13.

“Dear Police; Is anything of this kind surreptitious?” reads one letter dated Jan. 10, 1983. “I don’t know. Make sure everything is alright. Send this to the immune officer. I am immune. Alfred Starr Hamilton.”

Not so much a review as a description of Borinsky’s magazine and the paradoxes in ASH’s life.
New: American and Canadian Poetry. Number 9, 1969; p. 40-41

Review of Sphinx by Eric Torgersen 

“Notes towards extinction: American poetry wipe-out.” New: American and Canadian Poetry. Number 15, 1970; p. 39-44

This essay is a “state of poetry today” kind of thing.  Hewitt doesn’t say anything about Hamilton that couldn’t be applied to any number of other poets, but he does praise his unique voice, apparent lack of concern for literary “fashion” and ability to maintain a strong “presence” in the poetry without being its sole object. 

Three poems are given in full:  “Liquid’ll,” “April Lights,” and “Hark”

Blackbird Dust. Jonathan Williams. Turtle Point Press, 2000.
Includes his NYT article from May 25, 1975.


If you know of any other works out there, please let me know and I’ll add it to the bibliography.

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