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Date: Sat, 17 Aug 1996
From: Hank Lazer (HLAZER@AS.UA.EDU)
Subject: Re: George Starbuck
George Starbuck died Thursday morning at his home in Tuscaloosa at age 65 after a twenty year bout with Parkinson's disease. A fine poet and generous person, George directed the graduate writing programs in creative writing at Iowa (where, ages ago, he hired Kathleen Fraser) and at Boston University. While at SUNY Buffalo in 1963, he initiated a successful challenge of New York's Feinberg loyalty-oath law. After a semester as writer-in-residence, George decided to live in Tuscaloosa. For the past several years, he has been a kind friend, much valued for his learning, his conversation, and his advocacy of a wide range of poetries.
Date: 17 Aug 96
From: Anselm Hollo
Subject: George Starbuck
Emerging from my lair here, to salute the memory of George Starbuck, first met in Buffalo thirty years ago, during my first summer there in the company of G.S., Ann London, Robert Creeley, John Logan, John Wieners, Robert Hogg, Basil Bunting, George Bowering, Jack Clarke, Al Glover, Duncan McNaughton...a summer that definitely changed my life, as did George's subsequent invitation to come and teach at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, whose director he then was. Cet ouvroir was a very different place during his tenure than what it had been before, and, I believe, what it has been since. Not only did he invite Kathleen Fraser and her then husband Jack Marshall, he also invited Ted Berrigan, Steve Katz, Seymour Krim, David Ray--all, at that time, regarded as pretty 'cutting edge' makaris, somewhat threatening, even, to the post-Paul Engle neo-Frostian/pseudo-WCWilliamsian 'Iowa' establishment.
George was a wit, an ironic master of traditional Anglo form, and a gentleman of a wide and utterly non-provincial understanding of the art. I believe that he, Ted Berrigan, and your humble servant deserve credit in Poetry Heaven for our work in that place and time (Ted was politicked out of there after only one year, by the above mentioned establishmentarians; I outlasted George by a couple of years, thanks to painter Hans Breder of the art department who fixed me up with an 'interdisciplinary' gig for a couple more years): the roll call of 'our' (and, yes, Kathleen's & Jack's & Seymour's & Steve's) students looks pretty impressive today: Alice Notley, Robert Grenier, Ray DiPalma, Merrill Gilfillan, Michael Lally, Darrell Gray, Barrett Watten, Bob Perelman, Arthur Vogelsang. (None of them, of course, quite as famous in the Old Iowa Lineage as, say, Norman Dubie or Michael Ryan.)
So--Thank You, Captain George.