Thursday, 12 August 2010


Dear Karen Heller: That's a worthy account of a tortured architectural odyssey! Do you remember where Walt made his cryptic nighttime description. As a certfied Whitman nut, I can't recall any other architectural opinions of his.

I'm the guy who in driving his girlfriend Alice back from her birthday party in Cape May, 30 May 1973 shamefully conceded to this sociology major that I the English professor had never yet visited his 1891 mausoleum even though I moved to Philly in 1957 to take a Carnegie postdoctoral fellowship at Penn.

I made a U turn that morning on the Walt Whitman Bridge ramp to visit Harleigh Cemetery! (May 31 is his birthday!) And it was the centenary of the stroke he suffered in 1873 in D.C. that brought him to Camden where his Mother and brother George Washington Whitman lived.It was a messoleum, falling down.

Cynics remember that he used to distract the masons' concrete with the fuzzy abstractions of his late verse. By a remarkable American Providence, the English teachers were holding their annual convention in Philly over Thanksgiving. (Only time they could get enough hotels!) I asked the NCTE executive committee if I could parade with sandwich boards proclaiming A BUCK FOR THE BARD'S BONES one side SAVE WALT'S VAULT verso! Executive Committee huffed I could if I dropped the meretricious rhetoric!

Tightfisted English teachers put $834 in my pot, and Buckminster Fuller dropped $100 in the mail after asking why I was writing Emily Dickinson postcards on the dais at Beaver's commencement: to invite local poets to our 1974 Graveyard Party, nine (for the muses)bottles of Great Western champagne to make our "All Things Considered" live NPR broadcast hip enough.

Bill Frabizio, Sinatra's favorite Atlantic flugelhorn (and chairman of Beaver's music department) composed a Suite "Perhaps Luckier" (Whitman's take on Death). It was great fun while we were wasted. Forgive this out of control Nosestalgia--I'm writing my autobio in Weimar, "Dumb Irish Luck: A Memoir of Serendipities". Patrick D. Hazard

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