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James Ingram Merrill was an American poet whose awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Divine Comedies.
Born: March 3, 1926, New York City, New York, United States
Died: February 6, 1995, Tucson, Arizona, United States
Education: Amherst College
Lawrenceville School
Lived: James Merrill House, 107 Water St, Stonington, CT 06378, USA (41.33371, -71.90663)
702 Elizabeth St, Key West, FL 33040, USA (24.55511, -81.79894)
Melinas Merkouri 44, Athina 115 21, Greece (37.98245, 23.7514)
164 E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021, USA (40.76992, -73.96171)
James L. Breese House, 155 Hill St, Southampton, NY 11968, USA (40.88664, -72.39895)
18 W 11th St, New York, NY 10011, USA
Buried: Evergreen Cemetery, Stonington, New London County, Connecticut, USA
Buried alongside: David Jackson
Movies: Lorenzo's Oil
Parents: Hellen Ingram Merrill, Charles E. Merrill
Siblings: Charles E. Merrill, Jr., Doris Merrill

James Ingram Merrill was a Pulitzer Prize winning American poet. His father was Charles E. Merrill, founding partner of the Merrill Lynch investment firm. James Merrill's partner of more than three decades was writer and artist David Jackson. Merrill and Jackson met in New York City after a performance of Merrill's The Bait in May 1953. Together, they moved to Stonington, Connecticut in 1955. For two decades, the couple spent part of each year in Athens, Greece. "It was, I often thought, the happiest marriage I knew," said Alison Lurie, who wrote a memoir about it more than forty years later, Familiar Spirits (2001). In his 1993 memoir A Different Person, Merrill painted a candid portrait of gay life in the early 1950s, describing friendships and relationships with several men including Dutch poet Hans Lodeizen, Italian journalist Umberto Morra, U.S. writer Claude Fredericks, art dealer Robert Isaacson, and his last partner from 1983 onward, actor Peter Hooten. Jackson and Merrill are both buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Stonington, Connecticut.
Together from 1953 to 1983: 30 years.
David Noyes Jackson (September 16, 1922 – July 13, 2001)
James Merrill (March 3, 1926 - February 6, 1995)



Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
ISBN-10: 1500563323
Release Date: September 21, 2014
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James Merrill was an American poet whose awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1977) for Divine Comedies. In his 1993 memoir A Different Person, Merrill revealed that he suffered writer's block early in his career. Merrill painted a candid portrait in his memoir of gay life in the early 1950s, describing friendships and relationships with several men including Dutch poet Hans Lodeizen, Italian journalist Umberto Morra, U.S. writer Claude Fredericks, art dealer Robert Isaacson, David Jackson, and his partner from 1983 onward, actor Peter Hooten. The Inner Room is a collection of poetry published in 1988. It is dedicated to Hooten. Includes the celebrated cycle of poems called Prose of Departure, which describes a visit to Japan while a friend in New York City is dying of AIDS. The Changing Light at Sandover is a 560-page epic poem by Merrill: sometimes described as a postmodern apocalyptic epic, the poem was published in three volumes from 1976 to 1980, and as one volume "with a new coda" by Atheneum; Merrill and Hooten adapted the poem for a live ensemble reading at the Agassiz Theatre at Radcliffe College in 1990, a performance filmed and released as Voices from Sandover.
Together from 1983 to 1995: 12 years.
James Ingram Merrill (March 3, 1926 – February 6, 1995)
John Peter Hooten (born November 29, 1950)



Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
ISBN-10: 1500563323
Release Date: September 21, 2014
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
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As a boy, James Merrill enjoyed a highly privileged upbringing in educational and economic terms.
Address: 155 Hill St, Southampton, NY 11968, USA (40.88664, -72.39895)
Type: Private Property
National Register of Historic Places: 80002778, 1980
Place
Built between 1897 and 1906, Design by McKim, Mead & White (Charles Follen McKim (1847–1909), William Rutherford Mead (1846–1928) and Stanford White (1853–1906)), Landscape Design by Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903)
James L. Breese House, also known as The Orchard, is a historic home located at Southampton in Suffolk County, New York. The property was developed in 1980 with 29 luxury condominiums flanking the central gardens, while the home’s vast ballroom and first-floor public reception areas were preserved. It was designed as a summer residence in the Colonial Revival style. An 1858 house original to the site was incorporated into the structure. It is two and one half stories high and clad with white painted wood shingles. It features a two story portico, reminiscent of Mount Vernon. Breese was a close friend of architect Stanford White, commissioning modifications and additions until the latter’s death. The home’s spectacular 70-foot "music room" is believed to be White’s last completed project. From 1926 to 1956, it was owned by Charles E. Merrill (1885–1956), who deeded it to Amherst College. Amherst College later sold it to the Nyack School for Boys, which closed in 1977. It is located within the Southampton Village Historic District.
Life
Who: James Ingram Merrill (March 3, 1926 – February 6, 1995)
All three of Charles E. Merrill’s children were wealthy from unbreakable trusts made early in childhood. Merrill was the father of educator and philanthropist Charles E. Merrill Jr. (born 1920), author and founder of the Thomas Jefferson School, Commonwealth School, and former chairman of the board of trustees of Morehouse College; San Francisco philanthropist Doris Merrill Magowan (1914–2001); and poet James Merrill (1926–1995), who created the Ingram Merrill Foundation to support writers and the arts. In the early 1950s, Merrill’s three children renounced any further inheritance from their father’s estate in exchange for $100 "as full quittance"; as a result, 95% of Charles Merrill’s $25 million estate (he had already donated The Orchard to Amherst, which had in turn sold it) would benefit hospitals, churches, and educational causes. James Merrill was drafted in 1944 into the United States Army and served for eight months. His studies interrupted by war and military service, Merrill returned to Amherst College in 1945 and graduated summa cum laude in 1947. Merrill’s, or "Jim" as he was known at Amherst, senior thesis on French Impressionist Marcel Proust heralded his literary talent, and his English professor upon reading it declared to the Amherst graduating class that Jim was "destined for some sort of greatness." “The Black Swan,” a collection of poems Merrill’s Amherst professor (and lover) Kimon Friar published privately in Athens, Greece in 1946, was printed in just one hundred copies when Merrill was 20 years old. Merrill’s first mature work, “The Black Swan” is among Merrill’s scarcest titles. Merrill’s first commercially published volume was “First Poems,” issued in 990 numbered copies by Alfred A. Knopf in 1951.



Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532901904
ISBN-10: 1532901909
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228297
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The Greenwich Village townhouse explosion occurred on March 6, 1970, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It was caused by the premature detonation of a bomb that was being assembled by members of the Weather Underground, an American radical left group. The bomb was under construction in the basement of 18 West 11th Street, when it accidentally exploded; the blast reduced the four-story townhouse to a burning, rubble-strewn ruin.
Address: W 11th St, New York, NY 10011, USA
Type: Private Property
Place
11th Street is in two parts. It is interrupted by the block containing Grace Church between Broadway and Fourth Avenue. East 11th streets runs from Fourth Avenue to Avenue C and runs past Webster Hall. West 11th Street runs from Broadway to West Street. 11th Street and 6th Avenue was the location of the Old Grapevine tavern from the 1700s to its demolition in the early XX century.
Notable queer residents at West 11th Street:
• No. 18: James Merrill (1926-1995) was born in New York City to Charles E. Merrill (1885-1956), the founding partner of the Merrill Lynch investment firm, and Hellen Ingram Merrill (1898-2000), a society reporter and publisher from Jacksonville, Florida. He was born at a residence which would become the site of the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion. The Greek Revival townhouse at 18 West 11th Street, located between Fifth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue), was originally built in 1845. In the 1920s the home belonged to Charles E. Merrill. In 1930 Merrill wrote a note to its subsequent owner, Broadway librettist Howard Dietz, wishing him joy in "the little house on heaven street." James Merrill, who spent his infancy and first few years in the house, lamented the bombing in a 1972 poem titled "18 West 11th Street":
“In what at least
Seemed anger the Aquarians in the basement
Had been perfecting a device
For making sense to us
If only briefly and on pain
Of incommunication ever after.
Now look who’s here. Our prodigal
Sunset. Just passing through from Isfahan.
Filled by him the glass
Disorients.”
Actor Dustin Hoffman and his wife Anne Byrne were living in the townhouse next door at the time of the explosion. He can be seen in the documentary “The Weather Underground” (2002), standing on the street during the aftermath of the explosion. After considerable debate by New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, the home was rebuilt in 1978 in an angular, modernist style by renowned architect Hugh Hardy. (“It was this whole idea that a new building should express something new,” Hardy has said, adding, “we were deeper into diagonals at that point.”) The home was sold for $9,250,000 in Dec. 2012. The new owner was revealed in 2014 to be Justin Korsant of Long Light Capital, who renovated the town house using the architecture firm H3, the successor to Hardy’s firm.
• No. 50: After marrying, Gerald Murphy (1888-1964) and Sara Wiborg (1883-1975) lived at 50 West 11th Street in New York City, where they had three children.
• No. 307: Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) revised “On the Road” here at his girlfriend Helen Weaver’s courtyard apartment. He also wrote part of “Desolation Angels,” which mentions this building and its "Dickensian windows." Felice Picano lived here from 1977-1993: “Pretty gay building. There was a courtyard in the front with a big English Plane tree in the middle. Across the street is another literary landmark, The White Horse Tavern. That is the building I wrote about in “True Stories Too, The Federalist”.” --Felice Picano. Now owned by photographer Annie Leibowitz (born 1949), her renovation is creating controversy.
• No. 360: Julian Schnabel (born 1951) resides at 360 West 11th Street, in a former West Village horse stable that he purchased and converted for residential use, adding five luxury condominiums in the style of a Northern Italian palazzo. It is named the Palazzo Chupi and it’s easy to spot because it is painted pink. The building is controversial in its Greenwich Village neighborhood because it was built taller than a rezoning, happening at the same time as the construction began, allowed. Neighbors also alleged illegal work done on the site. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and allies called on the city for stricter enforcement, but Schnabel’s home eventually rose to the 167 feet he desired, rather than the new 75-foot limit imposed by the Far West Village downzoning of 2005. Until his death, Lou Reed lived across the street from Schnabel, who considered him his best friend. Schnabel is the director of “Basquiat” (1996), biopic of queer artist Jean Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) and of “Before Night Falls” (2000), biopic of queer Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990)



Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532901904
ISBN-10: 1532901909
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228297
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For most of two decades, James Merrill and David Jackson spent winters in Athens at their home at 44 Athinaion Efivon (now M. Merkouri.) Greek themes, locales, and characters occupy a prominent position in Merrill’s writing. In 1979, Merrill and Jackson largely abandoned Greece and began spending part of each year at Jackson’s home in Key West, Florida.
Address: Melinas Merkouri 44, Athina 115 21, Greece (37.98245, 23.7514)
Type: Private Property
Place
Today Athinaion Efivon is festooned with looping, tangled strings of graffiti, its dull cream façade signed by FIZI, TOKIO, and ORAL in an angry, Day-Glo script familiar from New York, although the messages are often anti-American. Athinaion Efivon itself has been renamed. It’s now called Melina Mercouri Street, in honor of the Greek movie star, and popular heroine, and leader of the opposition to military rule during the junta years, who lived in the area in the 1980s. The renaming of the street would pain James Merrill as much as the graffiti. He disliked Mercouri, and the old name was a case of found meaning, of the surprising wit of everyday life, which he enjoyed. It was no accident that he and David Jackson lived on, as it might be translated, “the Street of the Young Men of Athens.” The street appealed for other reason too. It borders the south side of Mount Lycabettos, the highest point in central Athens, “a sea of pines where nothing will ever be built,” as Merrill described it in 1964. So the house was in the middle of Athens, but on the edge of it too, on high, with privacy and views that the mountainside assured the new owners they would keep. The park is a wild place; and Athinaion Efivon, which wasn’t paved until the early 1960s, and has few cars, seems to belong half to it, half to the city below. The sounds of the mountain are light, piercing birdsong, fierce, throbbing cicadas, and when the wind is right, bells from the whitewashed church on the peak a half mile away. In the other direction, day and night, traffic drones.
Life
Who: James Ingram Merrill (March 3, 1926 – February 6, 1995) and David Noyes Jackson (September 16, 1922 – July 13, 2001)
During James Merrill’s years at Amherst his future career as a poet seemed all but assured. By the time of his graduation his verse had already appeared in Poetry and the Kenyon Review, and he had published his first book of poems, “The Black Swan” (1946.) After college he moved back to New York to write--the enormous Merrill family fortune allowed him to pursue his interests without having to earn a living--but after a while he found the atmosphere too intense and distracting for serious work. He traveled for several years in Europe and Asia, reflecting on his life and family and apparently coming to terms with his homosexuality. He eventually settled in the small coastal town of Stonington, Connecticut, with David Jackson, who would become his longtime companion. During the 1960s Merrill bought a house in Athens and subsequently another residence in Key West, Florida, and divided his time among the three homes.



Queer Places, Vol. 3 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532906695
ISBN-10: 1532906692
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228901
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In winter 1979, Tennessee Williams, a resident and a symbol of gay Key West, had been attacked outside the Monster while harmonizing on an hold hymn with a friend: it was a reminder that some people still “cared” very much what homosexuals did. Yet the fact remained: it would be possible for James Merrill to be gay and “quite inconspicuous” here. It was no longer necessary to lead a double life in Greece. David Jackson wasted no time buying one of those “gingerbread houses.” The address was 702 Elizabeth Street, a location even less promising than Water Street in Stonington or Athinaion Efivon in Athens had been.
Address: 702 Elizabeth St, Key West, FL 33040, USA (24.55511, -81.79894)
Type: Private Property
Place
At the time sleepy Elizabeth Street was one lane in the middle of the island; closer to the water, the street got wider and the houses bigger and smarter. Here it was lined by little homes, some as run-down and small as shacks; these belonged to Cuban and black Bahamian families who had once worked at the naval yard or the cigar factory. The Elizabeth Street House of Merrill itself was a handsome but small, modest home, built in the Bahamas in the 1860s and shipped to the island by barge (there was no wood for building in the Keyes.) But the previous owner was a drug dealer, and the property wasn’t in good shape. The house had a white picket fence and a swinging gate on the street.
Life
Who: James Ingram Merrill (March 3, 1926 – February 6, 1995) and David Noyes Jackson (September 16, 1922 – July 13, 2001)
David Jackson was the life partner of poet James Merrill. A writer and artist, Jackson is remembered today primarily for his literary collaboration with Merrill. The two men met in May 1953 in New York City, after a performance of Merrill’s play, "The Bait." They shared homes in Stonington, CT, Athens, and Key West. "It was, I often thought, the happiest marriage I knew," wrote Alison Lurie, who got to know both men in the 1950s and thought enough of the relationship to write a memoir about it more than forty years later, “Familiar Spirits” (2001.) James Merrill’s attitude toward the Key West house was distanced. Not that he was sceptical, but he stepped back and gave David Jackson full rein to do his thing, as if he knew DJ needed it. The house was purchased in David’s name, and both of them referred to it as David’s. More than generosity on his part, however, Jimmy’s readiness to think of it as David’s suggested his own reluctance to claim it. Over the years, Jackson would spend more and more time there and Merrill less.



Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532901904
ISBN-10: 1532901909
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228297
Amazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1532901909/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IZ1BU9K/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

James Merrill, poet, author of "164 East 72nd Street,” where he lived with his last partner Peter Hooten until death.
Address: 164 E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021, USA (40.76992, -73.96171)
Type: Private Property
Place
72nd Street is one of the major bi-directional crosstown streets in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Where the west end of 72nd Street curves into the south end of Riverside Drive, the memorial to Eleanor Roosevelt stands in Riverside Park. At this end of the street is the landmarked Beaux-Arts Chatsworth Apartments (344 West 72nd Street, John E. Scharsmith, architect, 1902–04, Annex, 1905–06.) At 72nd Street, Broadway crosses Amsterdam Avenue, creating a minute triangular space, Verdi Square; across the street to the south lies Sherman Square. 72nd Street is one of the few streets to go through Central Park, connecting the Upper West Side via Women’s Gate, Terrace Drive and Inventors Gate, with the Upper East Side. However, Terrace Drive is often closed to vehicular traffic and therefore the crosstown M72 bus crosses the park at 65th Street. The Dakota apartment building (see Dakota Building) is located on the corner of West 72nd Street and Central Park West. Before automotive traffic, broad cross-streets offered desirable sites for prominent residences; the mansion at the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue was the first of the Gilded Age mansions to be replaced by an apartment block, 907 Fifth Avenue, and McKim, Mead, and White’s Charles L. Tiffany mansion (1882) at the northeast corner of Madison Avenue was replaced by an apartment block (19 East 72nd Street, Rosario Candela, architect), but the Rhinelander Mansion (see Gertrude Rhinelander Waldo House), occupied now by Ralph Lauren, is still located on the southeast corner. At Third Avenue, the Tower East apartment block (1960) set a new model for high-rise residences, a slab tower set back from the street front and isolated on a low base. On October 11, 2006, the Belaire Apartments, a 50-story apartment complex located at 524 E. 72nd Street between York Avenue and the FDR Drive, was the site of a plane crash involving Cory Lidle’s aircraft. Tunneling for the new Second Avenue Subway began in 2010; in the future, the Q trains will stop at 72nd Street station. Meanwhile, the closest subway stops for 72nd Street on the Upper East Side are the 68th and 77th Street stations of the IRT Lexington Avenue Line.
Life
Who: James Ingram Merrill (March 3, 1926 – February 6, 1995) and Peter Hooten (born November 29, 1950)
164 East 72nd Street by James Merrill:
“These city apartment windows -- my grandmother’s once -
Must be replaced come Fall at great expense.
Pre-war sun shone through them on many a Saturday
Lunch unconsumed while frantic adolescence
Wheedled an old lady into hat and lipstick,
Into her mink, the taxi, the packed lobby,
Into our seats. Whereupon gold curtains parted
On Lakmé’s silvery, not yet broken-hearted”
from “Collected Poems”
In his 1993 memoir “A Different Person,” James Merrill revealed that he suffered writer’s block early in his career and sought psychiatric help to overcome its effects (undergoing analysis with Dr. Thomas Detre in Rome.) "Freedom to be oneself is all very well," he would write. "The greater freedom is not to be oneself." Merrill painted a candid portrait in his memoir of gay life in the early 1950s, describing friendships and relationships with several men including Dutch poet Hans Lodeizen, Italian journalist Umberto Morra, U.S. writer Claude Fredericks, art dealer Robert Isaacson, David Jackson, and his partner from 1983 onward, actor Peter Hooten. Peter was in a relationship with Merrill from 1983 to 1995 (Merrill’s death.) After 16 years in New York City, and some time in Connecticut, Peter Hooten moved to St. Augustine, FL. Hooten currently resides in Sarasota where he lives in a modest 1924 Indian Beach cottage.


by Elisa Rolle

Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532901904
ISBN-10: 1532901909
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228297
Amazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1532901909/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IZ1BU9K/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

“If I am host at last, it is of little more than my own past. May others be at home in it,” James Merrill, “Water Street.” David Jackson and James Merrill are both buried at Stonington Cemetery, Connecticut.
Address: 107 Water St, Stonington, CT 06378, USA (41.33371, -71.90663)
Type: Museum (open to public)
Phone: +1 860-535-4112
National Register of Historic Places: 13000618, 2013
Place
The James Merrill House is a XIX century house at 107 Water Street in Stonington Borough in southeastern Connecticut, formerly owned by poet James Merrill. Upon his death in 1995, the house was kept by the village as a home for writers and scholars. 107 Water Street had once been a XIX century residential and commercial structure that had first served as a drug store and a residence for the owner’s family. Village life and the apartment itself inspired some of James Merrill’s most important work, including “The Changing Light at Sandover,” his book-length epic poem based on Merrill’s and Jackson’s communications with the spirit world by means of a Ouija board in the turret dining room on the third floor. After James Merrill’s death in 1995, the Stonington Village Improvement Association (SVIA) transformed the Jackson and Merrill apartments into a place for writers to live and work. A group of Stonington residents and friends of Merrill began a program that would make the apartment available, rent-free, to writers and scholars for academic-year residencies. The Merrill apartment looks much the way Merrill left it - the personally eclectic décor remains as it was two decades ago. In the years since Merrill’s death, over thirty writers have used this space as a residence and retreat. The house is usually occupied by just one writer at a time, for stays of one or two semesters.


by Elisa Rolle

Life
Who: James Ingram Merrill (March 3, 1926 – February 6, 1995) and David Noyes Jackson (September 16, 1922 – July 13, 2001)
James Merrill was a poet whose awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1977) for “Divine Comedies” (1976.) Merrill’s partner of three decades was David Jackson, a writer and artist. Merrill and Jackson met in New York City after a performance of Merrill’s play “The Bait” at the Comedy Club in 1953. (Poet Dylan Thomas and playwright Arthur Miller walked out of the performance.) Together, Jackson and Merrill moved to Stonington, Connecticut in 1955, purchasing a property at 107 Water Street. For most of two decades, the couple spent winters in Athens at their home at 44 Athinaion Efivon. Greek themes, locales, and characters occupy a prominent position in Merrill’s writing. In 1979, Merrill and Jackson largely abandoned Greece and began spending part of each year at Jackson’s home in Key West, Florida. James Merrill and David Jackson are buried at Evergreen Cemetery (Stonington, CT 06378), at the corner of North Main Street & Route 1 in Stonington. The Stonington Cemetery is a twenty-two acre non-sectarian burial ground founded in 1849. Behind Merrill and Jackson there is the burial place of Doris Sewell Jackson and Lynn M. Roth. "Sewelly," as she was known to her friends, married David Jackson soon after the war. The newlywed couple moved to Europe for a year and a half, living in France, Switzerland and Germany. He worked in the post-war reconstruction and she as a designer. They hitchhiked to Norway and Italy, skied in the Alps and persuaded her Swiss landlord to host an American Barn Dance. In Paris, she apparently engaged Ernest Hemingway in a fractious discussion that led to his suggestion that "If you were a man, I'd knock your head off." After she and David separated, she returned to California to attend the Art Center, in Los Angeles. There she met George Wright, who became a lifelong friend. They worked together in New York City as graphic artists designing advertising, wallpaper, and textiles. When she moved to the Stonington area, thanks to her continuing friendship with David Jackson, she became a close member of the literary scene at James Merrill's house. In time, she moved to Noank with her friend Lynn Roth, and later to Mystic.


by Elisa Rolle

Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532901904
ISBN-10: 1532901909
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228297
Amazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1532901909/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IZ1BU9K/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

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