Here are the kaleidoscope windows of The Ethical Society of St. Louis in yesterday's early afternoon light in the midst of a celebration of the late George Hitchcock, editor of an influential literary journal, Kayak, that ran 64 issues from 1964 to 1984. I had many wonderful conversations and eavesdrops at "Kayak at the Confluence" and a funny coincidence in a workshop I taught. My friend, Liz Hughes Wiley, a former student of George's, put together this festival and brought in past contributors, ex-students, friends, an archivist, local actors, and his long-time love to share their experiences, perform his play, revel in the work, and give context to the surrealist editor's singular sensibility and influence on American poetry.
It was also at a festival that welcomed new poets into the fold, and I was there to teach a 16 year old girl and three poets reviving their interests in poetry how to find publishers for their work, and also to sit on a panel of publishers talking about community and individualism in literary magazines. It was funny, then, to be reading a prose poem, "Murder Mystery" by Nick Admussen, to the participants in my class to illustrate the interests of the editors at Epiphany Magazine, and have one of them, Susie Morice, remark that she taught a Nick Admussen in high school maybe 10 years ago who was brilliant and wildly imaginative. I read his contributor's note, which included graduate school at Princeton and current residency in Beijing. That sounds like him, she said, and later, with the help of someone's iPad, brought up a picture that confirmed it. When I choose poems from magazines to read aloud, I am both encapsulating the style interests and inviting poets to discover new voices. This connection was a joy to discover especially in light of Susie's own late blooming as a poet, and one who has a clear command of her own voice.