Adrienne Rich, 1929–2012

Adrienne Rich (photo by Lilian Kemp)

She wasn’t the most visible poet in Santa Cruz by any means, but Adrienne Rich was certainly its greatest. The winner of a National Book Award, MacArthur “genius” grant, two Guggenheims and numerous other distinctions died in her Santa Cruz home on Tuesday, March 27 from complications related to rheumatoid arthritis.

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My Career as a Cartoon Vandal

Billy, of one of Bil Keane's creations in The Family Circus, makes his confession.

So Bil Keane is no more. At age 89, this celebrated and beloved cartoonist has gone to meet Winsor McCay and Charles Schulz. The creator of The Family Circus, a redoubt of simpler times for more than 50 years, died Nov. 8.
Few among us have not gloried in the world’s most widely syndicated one-panel cartoon, or chuckled over the gentle, homey foibles of Bil, Thelma and their four rambunctious kids, Billy, Jeffy, Dolly and young P.J., as well as the grim specters “Ida Know” and “Not Me.”

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F. A. Nettelbeck, Outlaw Poet

Fred Nettelbeck, 1950-2011

F. A. Nettelbeck, who died Jan. 20 in Bend, Oregon at age 60, is probably the most important avant-garde poet you’ve never heard of.  Through his 23 books and chapbooks, countless magazine (and more recently online) publications, quite a few infamous readings and, for me personally, a friendship and correspondence spanning nearly four decades, Nettelbeck since 1970 established himself more than anyone else I’ve known as a truly outside-the-law literatus, a man who, if not for poetry, very likely would have ended up in prison.  His genius as a writer was to echo or reflect back through a fractured idiom some of the deepest pathologies of our culture, and through anger and outrage and an irrepressible need to offer some cry of defiance, to create a formally meticulous, visually musical, highly personal yet anti-lyrical poetry.

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