And Barbara Fry(e) did not need people defending her poems. If she did, then she would not have been a poet. They need to stand on their own and not because her kinfolk said that it made them feel good. Because her Granddaughter has feelings for the poem, does not make a great poem. I'm sure that I wrote some bad, rhyming poetry for my Mom when I was a kid and my Mom loved it, but that would not make it a good poem.
It appears my observation has been misinterpreted by a couple of people. Perhaps I did not make myself clear enough. I thought that when I mentioned the poem to be beautiful, or perfect "to me," I elucidated the subjective quality of the statement. I have an education in poetic criticism and am familiar with the world of art. What I wanted to get across was that as a critic, it was incredibly interesting to experience a poem in a completely different light, in a completely different manner. It was an observation. Not a defense. Not even a criticism. Imagine if you found a long-lost poem by a dead relative online! It is strange to see people criticize it- but in a cool way. It's hard to explain. None of criticisms made by any of you were out of line.
I apologize if I somehow offended you, Bill. Your tone seems... well...really condescending, which is fine for a forum discussion, but not a professional atmosphere... which is one reason I'm not sure about using a forum as the tool for the corrections. We're all having a conversation. I'm guilty of writing casually here. Is it really the right place?
I am not considering anyone in this forum as the academic community responsible for the rumors. Nor is "all" of the information fabricated, only "some." What I would like to know and correct is "who" provided the information about my Grandmother in India and her death. Nobody asked us about it, that's for sure.
I am waiting to provide detailed information for two specific reasons, aside from those given above: 1) I have started an academic research project concerning these matters, and need to discuss this with the Chair before releasing info. 2) (and more importantly) I need to get the green-light from the rest of my family. I feel really urgent about discussing this, but my family is more reticent to move quickly on these matters.
Ideally, I would love to share with you all. I would also love to have such a dedicated group of people help me find more of these sources.
For now I can share some things with you that are not compromising anyone's trust...
You're right... she was a mysterious woman. She never talked about her past. She rarely explained anything she did- and as you can see, she did a lot of random things that begged explanation. She was oddly both artistic and hardened. Aside from drawing and writing, she also hunted and butchered her own meat in Alaska. She did write children's books, but for the most part, her career in Aniak consisted of teaching young Inuit children.
In the poem above, she's talking about her family land in Texas. The cottonwood trees shed, like snow, and grew in the boggy regions. I'm sure some of you have deduced this already, but I believe the poem is about her move to L.A., with a romantic line dedicated to Bukowski. To be honest, no one in my family could picture her in the city. The accounts of her being miserable are definitely correct :) Unfortunately, the cottonwoods were eventually cut down by a cousin in the family in order to increase property value by creating grasslands.