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32 Short Pieces on Alan Stephens—a memoir of Al, with commentary on his poems, by John Ridland: download pdf
This is wonderful! Those photos sure bring back a lot of memories. Very well done web site.
What a lovely website — fine pictures and a nice selection of poems.
I just read the transcribed talk about Marvin Mudrick. So many wonderful things. And the poem “Late To Pray” which I hadn’t read before, and is a delight. Also, the pictures of Fran are just beautiful. What a knock out.
Thank you so very very much for this wonderful website.
I took a poetry writing class taught by Alan in the early 60s at UCSB. Even as a teenager I sensed and appreciated his gentle and respectful interaction with students, he was not trying to show off his erudition.
And of course there was some mention of Barnaby Googe and other early poets. I still remember his appreciation and the way his face would change when a student managed a memorable line, as when a student wrote “hawks in the air” and when I wrote “I awake and see green leaves, they are behind a screen, green squares of light straining through” he opened my eyes to the fact that this was my first real piece of poetry.
Once I met with him in his office to show him my 20 page poem written in early morning in front of a fire in a fervor and drug-induced ecstasy. I dimly perceived that this enthusiastic effort wasn’t quite right to present in poetry class and he was so respectful and attentive as he read it, including lines like “dancing for the queen, quivering slices of bean curd Chow Yuk.”
He was very appreciative and he explained what it was like for him to read the poem: “I’m walking around the house past the window and there I catch a glimpse of Muller and then I walk around and there’s another window and I catch another glimpse.”
In the days of the Gentlemans “C” my friends were incredulous that I got a B; only Tony Steele got an A! Alan hadn’t forgotten my long crazy poem; he was signaling to me that it was indeed poetry.
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