Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Rossett, Rasmussen & Rettberg Celebrate the ELO

A great photo from my days with the Electronic Literature Organization, back when the ELO was in an industrial building in the Ravenswood neighborhood on Chicago's North Side. I've gotta admit that when I walk west on Montrose, past the old ELO offices, I think fondly of the many hours that Scott and I clocked in there.

Meeting Barney Rossett--the founder of Grove Press, publisher of the Evergreen Review, and the man responsible for publishing Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, and other modern literary greats in the USA--was definitely the highlight of my time working for the ELO. It was inspiring to meet a literary legend like Barney in person and to get words of encouragement about our project from him.

On the night that this photo was taken, I really lucked out. John Vincler, who was doing an internship with the ELO, and I got to share a table with Barney, so we spent the evening hearing his stories, about everything from serving in the Korean War to his exchanges with Beckett to the bombing of the Evergreen Review offices by anti-Castro Cubans, who were upset that the Evergreen Review ran a piece by Che Guevara.

Later that week, we were invited to Barney's loft, which was lined with bound correspondences with all the great writers with whom he'd published. Barney even showed us his FBI files, which he'd obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

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