Thursday, February 05, 2015

Suzette Haden Elgin - RIP (Amazing Stories) and remembering other mentors

My latest article on Amazing Stories is a tribute to Suzette Haden Elgin, the author (Native Tongue among many others), linguist and founder of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, who died recently (27 January 2015) at the age of 78. I also review and discuss "The Science Fiction Poetry Handbook", which she published in 2004. Her works are not only of interest for Science Fiction or Poetry readers. She also wrote many non-fiction books on variations of her most famous work "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense". One day I hope to read and appreciate her "The Grandmother Principles", the skills of which she says are disappearing. She was a mentor that I wish I'd had. She withdrew from the (writing/online) world in 2009 when advancing Alzheimer's made writing impossible.

Speaking of mentors, my beloved singing teacher, Cornelius L. Reid, died 7 years ago on February 3, 2008. He would've been 105 on Feb. 7, 2015. I miss him and wish I had known him longer (earlier), because he had so much knowledge and expertise to offer and I only gleaned a small fraction of it from him. At least I did get to experience his work first hand and I have his books, so I'm still learning from him in a sense.

I also learned recently that another college professor passed away: Samuel Jones, my Diction for Singers prof. I disliked him intensely, but for some reason he like me, so I did not suffer too much at his hands (like others). He was extremely knowledgeable and demanded the best and I did learn a lot from him. Here's the obituary.


Anonymous said...

Suzette Haden Elgin's Science Fiction Poetry Handbook is the most influential book on writing poetry I've read. Wouldn't have come as far as I have without it.

Diane Severson said...

I definitely think it was right for me to wait a while before reading it. When I started it the first time I didn't have much of a clue, or much more than an appreciation for poetry, but no knowledge of or experience with it at all. Now that a couple of years have passed, I feel I can appreciate it much more and it will definitely improve my critique of poetry, helping me go beyond, this is how it made me feel but I don't know how they did it!