FROM THE EDITOR
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FROM THE EDITOR
Last issue, I suggested in this space that readers listen to the stories of World War II veterans. Soon after the magazine landed in mailboxes, I got the opportunity myself, when Charles Hindman of Lake Oswego, Oregon, walked into our office with a well-worn manila envelope in his hand.
Hindman did not go to Reed, but his best friend growing up in Portland, Philip H. Carroll Jr., did. Midway through college, both men went off to war. In August 1944, Carroll sent a letter home to his mother, enclosing a poem he had written:
Blood—warm, red blood
Sweat—the cold sweat of mortal fear
Tears—dry tears: from the eyes?
The blood, the tears, the pain, are not
Beyond the reality of sweat, endless agony,
Less than two months later, Philip Carroll was killed in a bombing run over Cologne, Germany. Carroll’s mother gave a copy of the poem to Hindman, and he’s kept it ever since.
Sometimes we can say in writing what we can’t find a way to say out loud. Certain Reedies (and their fellow travelers) have been singularly adept at this. In the following pages, we explore what a crowd of them—linguists and anthropologists and poets—made of postwar America. They include David (’39) and Kay French, Dell Hymes ’50, Philip Whalen ’51, Gary Snyder ’51, and Allen Ginsberg.
The latter two—Snyder and Ginsberg—road-tripped to Reed in February 1956 to give a poetry reading, and left a unique piece of postwar Americana behind: the first recording of Ginsberg reading “Howl.” Anne Wood Twitty ’59 later told an interviewer for the Reed Oral History Project that she could have gone to hear Ginsberg and Snyder read at Anna Mann Cottage, but she felt too “standoffish” toward that Beat crowd. She remembers attending a poetry reading by Mary Barnard ’32 instead. Barnard so inspired Twitty that she went on to write poems as well. Spread the word: poetry and Reed mix.
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