Thursday, March 25, 2010

Eleanor, again

Several years back, I lucked into a big stack of library giveaways, all poetry, mostly local, and all from the late 70's into the 80's. They had apparently been part of a donation and were likely duplicates of things we had. There was a lot of Paul Hoover and Maxine Chernoff, alot of their Chicago contemporaries. Almost every one of them was inscribed "to Eleanor" and I remember thinking that Eleanor really must have loved poetry, or possibly and very likely had even been a poet, and sadly, since she'd parted with such a meticulous collection, she was probably long dead now. Then today, going through a cart of new books I came across an oddity, a rather great condition* 1954 Norton edition of Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, which we had apparently, from the depths of the donation room where it had likely lingered the past 8 years, settled on keeping and had been only recently been catalogued and added to the collection. I opened it up to find that a holiday message from someone named Barbara to, you guessed it, Eleanor, dated Christmas 1975. I nearly knocked the cart of books over squealing with delight (okay, I was totally alone, so thank god no one saw me). I am even more curious now. Who was she? Was she a poet? Did she teach here? Go here as a student? hmm..

*Actually as I looked at it, the first page came loose, so I'm not sure it was a good choice in terms of durability, but it's something that can be fixed.

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