Sunday, July 24, 2005

----- 10:14 AM
Subject: Ibbetson Update/Ibbetson Poet Rufus Goodwin Passes at age 70.
Rufus Goodwin walked into my apartment on Ibbetson Street some years ago, and asked me, my wife Dianne and my friend Richard Wilhelm ( the staff at Ibbetson St. at the time) if we would like to publish a book of his "Poems from 42nd Street." It was a beautifully illustrated edition that in the words of John Lentilhorn celebrates the memory of the poet as a vagrant, the homeless one who rides the subway into the sunset, who snatches a song from the curb… " Goodwin wanted to turn away from the avant-garde and academic literary magazines and celebrate the simple things: a sandwich, a well-made bed, an ashcan, a street. He was upset with the trend in poetry that he felt was loud, profane and in your face. Goodwin felt by celebrating the simple things larger truths naturally evolve.

Goodwin, was from a patrician background but had a fascination with the everyday workingman. He was a regular contributor to "Spare Change News," and found out about the press through an article the late Cindy Baron wrote about the Ibbetson Street. He offered to help Ibbetson Street, because he felt it would be the next "City Lights."
Over the years he has helped the Press enormously. He was responsible for getting a feature article about us in The Boston Globe Arts/Leisure section in Feb. 2000. He bought a whole slew of ISBN's for our seminal press, and gave me an introduction to the world of small press publishing.

. One year Goodwin invited myself and Dianne to a gala opening event at Lincoln Center for the American Ballet. The tickets must of easily cost a grand or more. After the performance we were having dinner with him and others under a tent outside of the theatre. All kinds of celebs were in attendance…the whole big deal. One of the guys sitting at the table told me that he too was a guest of Goodwin. I asked him if he worked for Rufus. He said "Yes." I asked him what he did. He replied "I am his doorman." So I don't know if I was part of Rufus' experiment to bring culture to the workingman or what, but they sure broke the mold when they made him!

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Street Press.

Born in New York City, Rufus Goodwin graduated from Yale University and received an advanced degree in Linguistics from Georgetown University. He was a veteran of the Korean War and served as a foreign correspondent with United Press International in the 1960s. He was assigned to the Vatican while working for UPI and covered Pope Paul VI's first papal trip to the Holy Land in 1964. Later he was a freelance writer in Switzerland and England before returning to the U.S. in the 1980s. He published poetry (praised by James Tate, John Updike, and Mark Strand), novels, nonfiction, opera, and plays—more than forty titles in all. His work in religion led to the books The Story of Prayer and Who Killed the Holy Ghost? Other works include, Mr. President, a prestige bestseller in Germany, and Valentine for a Waitress, which appeared on stage in England. He collaborated with composer and performer Stephen Scotti for Blue Vagabond, Poets Opera, and other works that were performed in New York, Boston, and Martha's Vineyard. He died July 10, 2005 at the age of seventy.
Doug Holder

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