18 November 2022

Ned Rorem (1923-2022)

 I met Ned Rorem so long ago we once got drunk together. that nite is mentiond in "Swimmers Out of Water."

altho he was best known for his music my first attraction to Ned was his writing. there was a time when reading his diaries was de rigueur for the gay cognoscenti. when my name appeard in one of them I felt as if I had a brick in my own house of fame.

in an unpublishd journal I wrote:

        impressions of Ned Rorem on first meeting

        1. looks younger than his years

        2. speech defect noticeable but charming

        (& based on some 5 minutes of conversation:)

        3. appears less arrogant than anticipated

from the beginning he was honest & critical & quite the gossip.

I recall my making him a rueben sandwich & he fixing me scrambled eggs.

if I am a footnote in his life I suspect it wd be that I was the first (& perhaps only?) person to ask him to read from his diaries. that was at Kent State. I also publishd him in "A Festschrift for Djuna Barnes on Her 80th Birthday" & "My First Movie."

as often happens we lost touch over the years.

here's his contribution to "Gildzen at 50" :

14 November 2022

Robert Hansen

 how quickly joy can turn to sorrow. abt an hour & a half after acquiring my first Anna May Wong quarter I got the devastating news that Robert Hansen died last nite.

I'm crushd. he was such a kind & generous man. he was a hero in the poetry world. his creation of Poems-for-All brought so much joy to so many. for years now he made little books which he gave to his poets for free to "scatter like seeds." naturally we calld him the Johnny Appleseed of poetry.

I thankd him often for being so supportive of my work. after a piece of mine appeard on a bench in the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission project he creatd the wee book "The Poet's Bench" from photos postd online & surprisd me with it. that was one of the sweetest gifts ever to come to me.

for years now I've been carrying a couple of his little books with me wherever I go. since I no longer have a business card I used these instead. & everyone was so happy to get one. I do believe they are my most popular publications.

 I can't imagine a world without Robert. I will miss those envelopes full of little books & always a note -- usually with his self portrait. I hope he knew how important the work he did was & how much so many poets loved him.

Anna May Wong