all began at the Chock Full o'
the street from New York
University in Greenwich
Village. I was sitting there one
a sandwich chock full o' nuts
when the idea
came to me: why not? If others
could do it,
why couldn't I? I slowly stopped
I left the sandwich half full o'
nuts on my
seat and went out into the
And wrote my very first piece of
my doctoral dissertation.
Some of the greats I studied with
personally in New York or did not
all: Professor Margaret Schlauch,
after seeing me through the MA
signed from NYU, left the USA
forever, and went
to live and work in Warsaw,
there was Professor Burgum, who
was fired from
NYU shortly after I finished his
course in Modern Poetry. I once
Lionel Trilling. He was on a BMT
downtown. He did not speak to me
did not know me. But I did see
him. He still
teaches at Columbia University.
It was in New York that Eva
Betty, Louise, and a very mean
Bellevue Hospital had the
opportunity of making
my acquaintance. My second future
was able to meet me in New York
to get things
started there at the Chock Full
It was at this time that I did
the novels I had written. Or the
the letter to the editor of the New
Times. Several letters to my
mother from that
period of my life are extant.
When I left New York for Penn
changed. There was, for one
thing, no Chock
Full o' Nuts. But there was a
called Keeler's. "You can
get it at Keeler's,"
we were told. Over and over
again. When I
tried, I was slapped vigorously
face and neck.
Later I had a poem published in
Poetry Review. It went out of
shortly thereafter. I had poems
in Poet and
Critic, Descant, Western
College English, Penny Papers.
In almost every case the price of
publications has gone up since
works of Richard E. Lee. As a
historical fact, Penny Papers are
for about a nickel each. Cash.
And sometime after I moved to
Ronald Reagan was elected
I will, of course, be remembered
as a Full--
very--Professor at CSULB, whose
Co-ordinator of Creative Writing
being talked about. "What
did he do in all
that time?" people are heard
to ask. Well,
he moved his desk from near the
door to near
the window. For one thing. And he
responsible for hiring John
A thin pamphlet of poems, The
of Birds, was published by the
Press some time in the sixties.
It also issued
a famous poem of mine, Chant for
Generation, a few copies of which
longer available anywhere. As If,
book containing many of the same
was published by John Martin and
Oh, yes, and I was in several
at the Long Beach Art Museum.
my last acceptance, they changed
I am also deep into photography
in a big
way and will be quite successful
just as soon as I learn what f/
What's in the works? I am
opening a Chock Full o' Nuts out
Long Beach and calling it simply
Chock Full o'
Nuts. Who knows?
From PEOMS by relee
© 1974 Richard E. Lee
[This book was presented to me on
March 22, 1979.]