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THE HUMMINGBIRD REVIEW
Vol. II, No. 1 • Winter/Spring 2011
Table of Contents
Sing Praise for the Words!
Muse please, do not fail me now.
I begin each issue with “Sing praise for the words.” Don’t believe
there is a more appropriate oath for this labor of love we named,
The Hummingbird Review. To wit, the issue you now hold, shines
a laser-lamp on one of the most electrifying, dramatic and fruitful
ages in American literature, proclaimed the “Beat Generation” by
other than the exceptional writers who lived it. Read the reflections
of a few octogenarians who participated. We bring you a glimpse of
the energy field that they generated.
Overhear Jack Kerouac talking with David Amram. Follow Gary
Snyder as he walks through six decades of poetry at his Kitkitdizze
home. Another clan member, poet Gary Lawless, chips in with lyrics
reminiscent of a tale from the Korean or Vietnam Wars – although it
would be apropos for any conflict. Among those learning from the
West Coast Beats in Berkeley was Kate Harding, who shares the
experience in one of her three poems this issue.
Alone with me in the basement of a New Jersey motor lodge,
a presidential candidate who vigorously campaigned against the
Vietnam War took off his suit coat. Two secret service agents remained
stationed at the top of the stairs. He unbuttoned and removed his
shirt, unbuckled his belt, stripped to his shorts and handed me each
article of clothing as he dressed in more “conservative” attire. He
explained that he was heading to New York City and didn’t want
the folks back in South Dakota, via national television coverage, to
see how he appeared during the luncheon stump-speech delivered
Now I possessed the answer to the burning question of the ’72
campaign, asked by at least one reporter at each stop. The candidate
glared at me and said, “Charlie, swear—swear you’ll never give the
answer to the boxers or briefs question.”
“Yes, Senator, I promise.” But I wondered if travelling campaign
reporter, Hunter S. (Gonzo) Thompson, if he knew, would keep Sen.
George McGovern’s deepest personal secret. I imagined not.
I retell this incident now because Thompson was greatly
influenced by the “Beat Generation” writers. He counted William
Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg among his circle of friends. Of the
nearly three hundred who attended Thompson’s funeral in 2005,
George McGovern was there to bid farewell to his old friend. Hope
you enjoy our look back at these mid-20th Century writers who
carved out a special place for themselves in American literature.
I suggest you start with “Morning Tea with Gary Snyder” by
our editor, Bob Yehling, himself a decades-long student of Beat
literature. (To note: Bob dipped into the nurturing force of the
Beat literature movement, City Lights Books in San Francisco, on
this past Christmas Eve, to buy a copy of the first scroll/draft of
Kerouac’s On The Road.)
Can you say Novels ‘R’ Us? Academy Award writer Michael
Blake graciously sends us an exclusive chapter from his new
novella, Into The Stars. During World War I, Michael finds a way to
tell a love story of a man for a horse. Newcomer William Thompson
Ong shares a chapter from The Lake, his soon to published historical
drama set against the backdrop of a great American tragedy, the
Johnstown Flood of May 31, 1889.
We have been blessed by so many brilliant writers who have
graciously provided us with their work. It constantly amazes me
how generous these renowned contributors are with their time and
their writings. This time around, National Book Award nominee
Harvey Stanbrough presents us with a short story, along with a few
Continuing with our multicultural offerings in every issue,
we feature Native-American Joy Harjo, Mexican-American
Isaac Lomeli, and Chinese-American Mai Lon Gittelsohn. The
September 2010 Southern California Writers’ Conference contest
winner, E. Scott Menter, shares his poignant title, “Dolphinarium.”
Some twenty writers fill out our line-up with an incredible variety
of amazing poems.
Our goal is to share the words of established writers while, at
the same time, reach out to help up new writers who may someday
become the “Beat Generation” of their day.
Charles Redner, publisher
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