A VISIT BACK TO 2004 WITH MY OLD DAD, GEORGE GULICK. HE WAS ALWAYS READY FOR EITHER A SNACK OR A REVOLUTION – PREFERABLY BOTH.
George submitted his poems to the New Yorker for over 20 years, stubbornly refusing to send his work anywhere else. Unlike his view of social class, the gaze he turned on poetry was hierarchical, exclusive, and proprietary. I’m under the uninformed impression that he regarded himself as one of a vanguard potentially capable of unseating the Harvard poets. I have no idea who the Harvard poets are, but I can tell you that the New Yorker’s famous Calvin Trilllin will react very irritably to a chummy reference to them, made on behalf of one’s old dad. As for my own dad, he was happy because it was clear to him that he had at least two readers with officially recognized opinions.
I think maybe the poetry staff of the New Yorker misses Dad a little because they often added friendly little notes, but that could very well be wishful thinking. What I’m certain of, though, is that they noticed his departure. The first clue was more office space. Mr. Gulick mailed his poetry to #4 Times Square at a volume and frequency that prompted editor Alice Quinn to request that he limit his submissions.
“My assistant has been so overwhelmed that the packets (of poems) piled up,” she wrote in June of 2007,” and I’m not happy with our keeping you waiting for word.”
George emailed back to assure Ms. Quinn that his poems could do worse than a couple of month’s vacation in New York City.
“I’ve entered 100 poems in the Poet’s Over Fifty Contest,” he confided, “If I win the prize of $10,000, I’ll take you to dinner.”
“Boy, that would show those Harvard poets,” I thought.
I like to think that Ms. Quinn would have gone. To dinner, I mean.
UPDATE: Please accept Electrica’s apologies and tune in very soon for the promised poem. It’s packed in a box and we’re moving our corporate headquarters.