Some connections never die. David Lee Rubin was a brilliant 18-year-old editor at the Chicago Review in 1957 when I submitted a poem titled Uncle Dog: The Poet at 9. I was an “ancient” twenty-four-year old Navy vet studying at the University of Iowa. David championed my work and I’ve always associated his presence on the board with the appearance of Uncle Dog, my first publication in a “real” hardcopy magazine. Title poem, too, for the first book, Putnam & Co., Ltd., London, 1962. Our mutual friend, Barbara Vroom, helped make both the magazine and book publication possible… Barbara later went on to write for The New Yorker before her untimely death.
David now chair of the poetry board at Virginia Quarterly Review, U of Virginia professor, author (A Pact with Silence, etc.), distinguished scholar, book reviewer, translator… his specialty is 17th century French literature and, in particular, poets like Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695).
Lunch with David yesterday at our home in Santa Cruz. He catches on immediately to what he refers to as the layered (literary) texts in my wife Gloria K. Alford’s art. Layered literary texts? How a writer like James Joyce, for example, can re-tell, re-understand Homer’s Odyssey. For her part, Gloria working with ancient art images and their modern equivalents. In samples of her work from the 70s one sees how, in fact, the past is made of the future. And the future is the product of the past.
Still vivid in our minds as we reminisced about 1950s, 1960s Chicago and the various players, living and dead, we knew from the time George Starbuck, Barbara Vroom (mentioned above), David Ray (not our favorite), Philip Roth, Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow…
Causes Robert Sward Supports
Audubon Society, National Geographic, "Green," the Environment, SPCA...