Barbara Fry wrote poetry too

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
HumanVultures: I'm not surprised that people criticized the poem. They will give their honest opinions on any literary work posted here. Would you expect less of them? The fact that it is a published poem that has been around for decades makes it fair game.

You'll be more likely to learn more about your grandmother by gaining some distance and not being hostile to the members of this forum. Yes, she's your grandma, and you love her, but she's not a great poet and is largely forgotten aside from the Bukowski connection. There are people here with incredible collections of rare, obscure old literary publications. They may have other copies of your grandmother's poems, but if you come on all pissed off, reading us the riot act, why should anyone bother to dig out those publications, scan the poems, and post them, all of which is work? You can catch more flies with honey, etc.

And please, do set the record straight on the facts. This is the place to do it. You're the one with the facts.
 
HumanVultures:

You'll be more likely to learn more about your grandmother by gaining some distance and not being hostile to the members of this forum. Yes, she's your grandma, and you love her, but she's not a great poet and is largely forgotten aside from the Bukowski connection. There are people here with incredible collections of rare, obscure old literary publications. They may have other copies of your grandmother's poems, but if you come on all pissed off, reading us the riot act, why should anyone bother to dig out those publications, scan the poems, and post them, all of which is work? You can catch more flies with honey, etc.

And please, do set the record straight on the facts. This is the place to do it. You're the one with the facts.

I agree. Hopefully HumanVultures can make an attempt to look at this situation objectively, and understand most of us here only want the facts. If there's a record to be set straight - the ball is in his or her court. Unless the real Purple Stickpin joins us. . .

;)
 
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.
 

cirerita

Founding member
I think to recall that the part about her death in awkward circumstances in India is from Howard Sounes biography.
 
Yes, it's in several of them. I'm hoping to contact Sounes and figure out where he got the info. on her life after Bukowski.

Once again, I'm terribly sorry about the criticism misunderstanding... really, that's not what I meant at all! Did you guys happen to miss the parts where I profusely thanked everyone?

And I'm certainly not blaming anyone here for what's happened. I'm referring to the information published in books and online biographies. I read some online page the other day (which was full of garbage... even got the dates wrong) that said she was decapitated by religious zealots... some people are really creative. Once again, I would like to correct this, but need to clear it with some people before I jump in head first.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
HV,
I apologize if you found my reply condescending. It was not meant that way and I don't believe that it reads that way, but if you read it as trying to talk down to you, I apologize.

As far as correcting the history of Barbara Fry, this is the best place to do it. I'm only saying that as other people here have tried to correct Sounes and have been rebuffed. If he said it, it is 100% true to him and you will never convince him of anything else.

Do a Google search on "Bukowski" & "Fry" and most likely you will see that this forum is in the top three finds.

This is the place to tell your families side and balance it out with the Sounes version of your family history.

Bill
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Great, I won the bet. Human Vultures is going to be our friend. Welcome to the forum. Tell us a little more about yourself, like where you went to get your Masters Degree, or do you have a Doctorate.
About Bill, I've gotten that same impression of him but do not be confused by his intensity about things. He is a beloved member here and is all around a good person.
I agree, the story of Barbara's death in India must be greatly exaggerated.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
About Bill, I've gotten that same impression of him but do not be confused by his intensity about things. He is a beloved member here and is all around a good person.
Yes, I can be a bit of an ass. I try not to, but somehow it always comes through as if I'm being a dick. I have never quite figured out what I do to make people think this, but it is a fact. This is why, whenever I need someone to like me, I send my wife. She is a people person.

Bill
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
HV,

Thanks for explaining yourself. I think many of us assumed you were angry and hurt by the criticisms of the poem because you discussed it in the same post as the inaccuracies about Barbara Fry's biography, about which you are obviously angry and hurt. I'm guessing some of that emotion leaked from one subject into the other, in our minds if not yours. I can imagine how cool it would be to find poems by your grandmother discussed online. I think we all get that. I wish my grandmother wrote and published poems. All she did was comb her long gray hair and eat toast with butter and jelly on it while staring out the window of an ancient brick building in Chicago. Anyway, you'll find the people here are friendly and generous, and will be eager to help you in your research. The tough part for you will be to maintain objectivity, given the family connection. Blood is thicker than water, as they say. Good luck.

ps: Bill is a good guy and a fountain of knowledge on Bukowski and the small press. He's passionate is all.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
...and it is important to set the record straight, whether it is done here or not. If the written history is inaccurate, we would gladly correct it. I cannot imagine the hurt that it would cause my family if outright lies were hoisted on the public as truth. This forum is all about getting to the truth about Bukowski and in relation to that, we need to know the truth about Barbara.

Barbara Fry is indeed mysterious. She was very hard to research. Even the spelling of her last name is uncertain. I have seen it spelled FRY and FRYE. I heard that some members of her family spell it one way and others spell it another.

However we get the correct info (whether on this forum or in a book), I'd LOVE to read it and am eager to learn. I would LOVE to correct the biographers, especially Sounes.

Bill
 

cirerita

Founding member
But Bill, how can you possibly correct Sounes? Even with empirical info, factual data, etc., at hand, how could you possibly change his mind? :D
 

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
In the poem above, she's talking about her family land in Texas. ...I believe the poem is about her move to L.A., with a romantic line dedicated to Bukowski.
You know, I have to say, knowing that certainly makes the poem read differently to me.

I'm hoping to contact Sounes and figure out where he got the info. on her life after Bukowski.
He emails from contact@howardsounes.com - that's not exactly a top secret address, so I don't see any harm in posting it.

Don't expect him to take kindly to you contradicting anything he's written.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
But Bill, how can you possibly correct Sounes? Even with empirical info, factual data, etc., at hand, how could you possibly change his mind? :D
I know that Unkel Howie is always right. I forgot. If he wrote it it is true. Facts be damned!

Bill
 
Hello everyone. Well, I just had a weekend visit home to the family. They aren't fond of the forum... but I'll get them to warm up. If anything, this will be an enormous help and support system.

It's OK, Bill. As you can see... I have difficulty with that as well. As all of you bore witness to, people tend to think I'm pissed more often than I actually am. Ah, well. I try.

Some of that might be attributed to youthful angst. I doubt I'm as accomplished as many of you are. I graduate in about one month with an undergrad degree in Philosophy and Literature.

My focus in Philosophy is Existentialism.
My focus in Literature is high modernism, and contemporary theory. Out of the beats, my favorite poet was probably Snyder. I've only recently been delving into Bukowski- because I've only recently discovered my Grandmother's involvement with him. Talk about mysterious, right? To think I would be let in on something like that a little sooner.

I'm applying to graduate programs as we speak, but will take a one year hiatus from academia (after this research is done) in order to work in Japan for a bit. Looks like teaching English will never escape my blood line. After Japan, I'll pursue a PhD in either philosophy or a rhetoric, multi-cultural department. I love philosophy... to death... but sometimes a degree outside of the traditional canon is less stifling and more customized.

Please, tell me more about yourselves. It would probably help ease the situation with my family.
 
Ah, yes...

The correct spelling of her name is Frye. For some reason, she took off the "e" as one of her pen names. I know she had more than one pen name, as well, and I'm trying to scrounge them up.

Random, fun fact:

This is just an account retold by my family, so I cannot currently claim its absolute veracity... but I can definitely see it happening, with a very big grin (maybe if I peek around I can find records of it somewhere, but probably not).

One of the last straws she had with Bukowski occurred when she bought him a car so he could find work. What he actually ended up doing was drinking and writing in the vehicle. Basically, he trashed it and slept in it like another house. She supposedly opened the door and had to clean out bottles and hundreds of crumpled poems and illegible writings.
 
wow! thanks much for joining the forum. we all love hearing the untold stories of buk. your innput is much appreciated. me, i'm just a buk entheusiast and collector. that's my story. please stick around and tell us more...
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Probably because we have been a bit tough on Barbara (well, maybe very tough), but in our defense, we have only heard one version of the story. We are hungry for the other side of this story.

Billl
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
HV,

I can understand your family being not pleased with the forum, and I can understand your (possibly unconscious) anger. Families do not like having negative publicity about one of their members. I think they all feel shamed by whatever comes out. I've seen it with other subjects besides Barbara Frye. I went to a reading where an author (Linda Crew) discussed a new book she had just published, a historical novel about a religious cult in Oregon circa 1900, and three family members of one of the main characters, a young woman seduced by the cult leader, showed up. They were hopping mad, shaking with rage, and they apparently had not read the book, nor did they want to -- they were angry that more publicity had come out on the hundred year old case involving their ancestor. They ripped into Crew, and she handled it well. Basically, they didn't want her or anyone writing anything about their ancestor. I myself am doing research on a literary figure from 100 years ago and have seen how much anger and suspicion remains in her family, her descendents. They are still seething about the negative publicity surrounding her, as are many people in her home town. Perhaps what is troubling to your family is the connection with Bukowski, and not that Barbara Frye was an author in her own right. He's a controversial figure, unconventional, and that might be the source of discomfort. Anyway, glad you are working through this as you are.

Who are we? I'm a published poet and short story writer, have an MA in English.
 
[...] My focus in Philosophy is Existentialism.
Are you more into 20th century-existentialism (Sartre, Camus) or 19th century (Nietzsche, Kirkegaard) ?


[...] I've only recently been delving into Bukowski [...]
Since you like modern literature, you may come to like him as well. His literary qualities are outstanding.
I guess, you've read 'Post Office' as one of the first, right?


[...] tell me more about yourselves.
Basically, I'm what was called a 'slacker' in the early 90s.

That's because Plato has claimed, one should do - and ONLY this - what one can do BEST. In my case, this is sitting around in a café, getting invited to enormous amounts of wine and acting depressive but ubercool. So that's what I do.

Beside that, I'm a fan of Charles Bukowski. As you may have guessed.
 
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Rekrab

Usually wrong.
By the way, I need to correct myself. When I said that Barbara Fry was not a great poet -- that's something I really can't say, based soley on reading a single poem. I should have said she's not known as a great poet, or isn't a famous poet, or doesn't seem to have been an important poet, or whatever. But she could be far better than that one poem suggests. I was assuming a lot from very little evidence.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Maybe the family didn't like the corgi, or this one either.

About the car. I have seen many cars full of bottles and crumpled up wads of paper. That's what some people do with their cars. At least Bukowski was writing poetry in his.

By the way, thank you, and I hope you are getting good grades. I have two kids in college and you have to love kids in college.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
I don't drink alcohol in mine (although Delaware has no open container law, so passengers can drink while the car is in motion, so long as the driver is not drinking!), but I drive for a living, so I spend about 30 hours a week in mine. The inside of it looks like a dump.

Bill
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Take some photos for us Bill. For posterity. My wife once broke into Tom Waits' old Cadillac when it was parked on a side street by the Tropicana Hotel. Gathered up old cigarette butts, Fritos bags -- anything for a souvenir. Which reminds me, I should do something with the two pieces I wrote about Waits in the 80s. All I need is lots and lots of time for typing.
 
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