That the belts move / among grease
By Maggie Trapp
by Julie Larios, Contributing Writer “Two cups in a cupboard. Someone looks in, I do not know which cup is which cup. Now someone looking in faints and falls to the floor. Someone on the floor wakes up. One of his feet has a fedora tied to it, the other foot is bound up in an apron; father’s hat and mother’s apron.” These were the words I encountered in 1966 on first opening The Very Thing That Happens by the poet Russell Edson. His prose poem, titled “Someone Falls to the Floor,” goes on for another three paragraphs, but it was this opening that stopped me in my tracks. More, more, more – that’s what I could hear the little rebel’s voice in my head saying.
Birds carried fifteen years away Like an abandoned nest, put them To rest somewhere I couldn’t see —Robert Huff, from “Traditional Red.” Twenty years is a lot of birds passing overhead and almost enough time to wear away the memory of one who watched below. There is scant mention of Robert Huff in Contemporary Authors which is also out of date. It doesn’t even mention his death two decades ago. The four books published during his life are long out of print. It’s as if he’s been left in a state of limbo. For weeks, I’ve tried to track down information on him, writing to artists, professors and students who knew him here in Bellingham, Washington. There are people who helped immeasurably in the making of this. Filling in the rest of the details I had to rely on my own detective work. In the summer of 1964, Robert Huff arrived in Bellingham, hired by then-Western Washington State College as an associate professor of English. He filled out a mimeograph Thumbnail Sketch form for recent …
This month we reach into the archives and feature Thom Gunn’s “Modes of Pleasure” which appeared in the Winter 1960-1961 issue of the magazine. It ran alongside poems by Donald Hall, Philip Levine, Vladimir Mayakovsky, William Stafford, Sister Mary Gilbert (now known as Madeline DeFrees), among others.