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March 24, 2021


thanks terence, great job of rounding up tributes to bob

In 2016, I edited a special issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, honoring the history of Some Of Us Press--and was so pleased to include three poems from Bob's book "Rocks and Chairs." To see those poems, please go to:

Bob was incredibly gracious and generous. He will be sorely missed.

Kim Roberts

In an inexorably imperfect world, this tribute is perfect.

Bravo to all contributors.

Thanks, Kim. Great to have that link included here.

Bob's book "Rocks and Chairs," was one of the last books published by Some Of Us Press, in 1974. It was assigned to me to work with Bob to turn the ms. into a chapbook, and Bob was delightfully warm, funny and patient with my inexperience. We had infrequent contact over the years, but some months ago Bob reminded me of the fun, and some frustrations, we had with "Rocks and Chairs" 50 years ago. It pleases me to think of having helped to bring some of his poems to his audience early on. Such a fine poet, that Bob Hershon. Such a generous man.

Thanks, Beth. I had forgotten your involvement with Bob's SOUP book.

Thank you for this

Thanks, Terence and all. There’s certainly a peculiarly Bob-shaped hole in my heart.

Bob published my first book. He and Charles North invited me to read with them at Zinc Bar. Just two of countless generosities large and small. I used to bring beers and my children to his house for talks. When we would leave, he would say "goodbye sweetheart" to my then two year old daughter in his gruff voice and she would shout in a tiny voice "goodbye sweetheart!" in return, and Donna would wonder what was going on downstairs. He was a good hugger and a good neighbor.

I think I never left a conversation with Bob without learning the names of writers or other interesting people who had been part of his life in one way or another.

One of my greatest joys has been hanging out with Bob and Donna in their kitchen, talking poetry and perfect avocados. Whenever I visited NY, after I moved to Denver, Bob and Donna would insist I stay with them and even set up museum visits and readings we must go to. In the evenings we would walk over to one of their favorite Brooklyn restaurants, having invited others to join us, and have amazing delicious rollicking dinners. Pure fun to be in the presence of Donna, who could tell all wonderful stories about Hanging Loose authors, and Bob, a rigorous, generous, co-editor of one of the most important small presses ever and all his incredible, passionate energy transforming the space around him. That energy and zen-of-the-moment presence flooded his poetry and gave us all a bigger than life poem that was totally a poem about everyday life and all of its sense and nonsense. A poet of his beloved Brooklyn, of place and all place, his voice spoke to and for us all. He will be sorely missed, but never missing.

That's beautiful, Maureen. Thanks.

Yes, thank you, Maureen...I keep flashing on being in Bob and Donna’s kitchen, too, how much they liked being in it making stuff, eating, drinking, talking, even though it seemed like something was often going awry, the stove, the dishwasher, leading to a certain amount of despair.

Bob was a generous, kind man, warm and fun. I made his acquaintance first through his collection Into a Punchline: Poems 1984-1994, and years later met him in person. What a talented poet and gifted editor he was. Hanging Loose is in a class all its own, important in the history of little magazines. I’ll miss knowing he’s here in our midst. How lucky anyone is to have known him.

From the early 1970s I recall reading 4-TELLING, a paperback that was my introduction to these four poets: Robert Hershon, Emmett Jarrett, Dick Lourie, and Marge Piercy. The first three were lead editors at Hanging Loose, and I later learned that Piercy published a good deal of her early verse in HANGING LOOSE magazine. I also recall the paperback's introduction was written by John Gill. I wish I could lay my hands on the copy I bought back then. I know I didn't throw it out because I was impressed with all four poets, Bob in particular. He'll be missed for more reasons than I can enumerate here.

The above link is to Poetry Foundation’s “Poem of the Day” for April 6, 2021: Robert Hershon’s “Superbly Situated” from HOW TO RIDE ON THE WOODLAWN EXPRESS (Hanging Loose Press, 1985).

The inclusion of that poem earlier in this overall tribute to Bob Hershon underscores Terence's discerning taste as well as the skill and appeal of Bob's verse.

I like to think that talent WILL out after all.

Robert Hershon was a hero; all those years and years, he kindly and thoughtfully did the real work that must underlie the literary culture. Many of the people in that category have left us now; I'm not sure they're replaceable.

I was so grateful to know Bob, to be published by Hanging Loose Press, and to be part of that ongoing party... Harvey Shapiro and Galen Williams introduced me and my husband Allen to them, when they came to Key West in the early 2000's. Bob read with Harvey at the Poetry Guild here. We had fun together and drinks in our backyard. It's been a trip all the way. Hanging Loose, with its encouraging section for school students, its accessible, witty poetry has been a delight. And when I came to New York for the parties at the Poets' House to celebrate various publications and have a great Italian dinner afterwards, how lovely to be included.
Thank you Bob, and Donna my infallible eagle-eyed editor!

What wonderful memories. Bob lived a joyous, fascinating life. It’s hard to believe it’s actually over.

Bob Hershon listened to me a few times on Village stages, at Open mics. I kept honing my poems reading them out loud everywhere I could. Then one evening, at a Village club, he came up to me and invited me to send poems to Hanging Loose. Then a few months later he caught me again on the stage lip, again in the Village, and he asked me to send him my first manuscript. I ended up sending almost everything I had and Dick Lourie cut it to the bone. And Bob helped me carry the bones everywhere. I have since gone on to other books with Hanging Loose, many coffees at his kitchen table, and lunch near the Print Center, and then one last hello before the pandemic blew into the world, one more coffee after visiting with Donna at the hospital. Thank you Bob for your magnificent generosity, your impeccable ear and eye, your wit, your own city poetry. Thank you for welcoming me into this family, to beaming up these words when you choose to look down again and rub your beard. Indran

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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