Listen to George's Interview with Spreaker...
I am a 1965 graduate of Clark University. I did some graduate work in library science at Columbia University. I have written two bibliographies concerning American publishers working in Paris in the 1920s and ‘30s: Bibliography of the Black Sun Press and Bibliography of the Black Manikin Press, both standard references in the field. He is also the author of the trilogy In the Land of Whispers, an historical novel concerning the English in the New World. The first and second volumes, The Weight of Smoke and The Dragons of the Storm, were published in 2006 and 2007. The third volume The Leaves of Fate was published in 2010. Francis Ford Coppola at American Zoetrope and Lone Dog Limited took an option on the trilogy to produce feature films, or more likely, a television series. George has published a dozen illustrated children’s poems in magazines, and have authored a series of sixty light essays for a local newspaper. I was also the associate editor with J.D. McClatchy of The Poetry of Song, a series of essays by major poets about the song lyrics of Stephen Sondheim. My comic science fiction audiobooks, The Speed of Light Garage and Planetary Liquidator’s Auction House and Bridal Shop, are available on Amazon.com and Audible.com.
The most important addition to my life has been my granddaughter, who lives in San Francisco. I live in Massachusetts. From a very early age, we talked on the phone quite frequently. There were times when we talked on the phone every day. We would play imagination games, and I would write poetry for her. I became her phone pal.
As she grew older and went to school, the time we spent on the phone became somewhat less frequent, except when she had vacations. I introduced her to books I thought she would like. Sometimes I read them to her, and then she would buy them and read them to herself.
One vacation she asked me to tell her a story, and that’s how Tickle Plenty happened. Over a period of two weeks, I made up these stories, sometimes as many as four a day. I never thought of publishing them, they were just playtime between my granddaughter and myself. But one day her mother heard the stories, as my granddaughter would lie on the couch and listen on the speakerphone. She suggested that I write the stories down. After some coaxing, I did. This is how the Tickle Plenty Series came to be.
I have served on the board of directors of the Poetry Society of America, which is the oldest poetry society in the United States, for so many years that I truly don’t know how many, probably over fifteen. I am currently its secretary. I also served on the board of The New York Quarterly, which was a literary magazine operating for many years in New York. I was chairman of the Alford, MA Historic District Study Commission and chairman of the Alford Historic District Commission, which was the first historic district in Berkshire County. I am on the board of the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative. I also ran a film festival for several years in Great Barrington, MA, and have served as an advisor to several other cultural institutions in the Berkshires.
I have been a rare book dealer for fifty-two years, and am a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. Concerning my relationship to men of letters, I have represented both American and English literary figures, including several continental writers of major importance. I cataloged and sold the papers of Krafft-Ebing, one of Freud’s teachers. The Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, where the papers now reside, called these important psychiatric papers one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century. I have worked for such people as Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. I was asked by the Nobel Laureate Dr. James D. Watson, the discoverer of the structure of DNA, to appraise the Double Helix manuscript at Harvard, where it was housed. I also represented the Jack Kerouac Estate in the sale of the Kerouac papers to the New York Public Library, and have represented almost all the Beat writers, including William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.
I have also represented the following: John Guare; Jules Feiffer; the poet Robert Creeley; Richard Ford; Kingsley Amis; Lawrence Durrell; the editor Gordon Lish; the estate of S.N. Behrman; the Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz; Paul Auster; Christopher Lehmann- Haupt; Charles Henri Ford; Joyce Carol Oates; Chinua Achebe; the former Poet Laureate of the United States Stanley Kunitz; Gail Godwin; Kathy Acker; Dr. Phyllis Chesler; Russell Banks; Jorie Graham; Robert Coover; Christopher Durang; Marsha Norman; John Edgar Wideman; the filmmaker Stan Brakhage; and Shirley Graham Du Bois, the second wife of W.E.B. Du Bois. Actually, this list goes on and on. This is just to name a few.
I am the discoverer of three important letters from Sophia Hawthorne, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s wife, which were written to her mother, concerning Herman Melville. These were part of a collection of papers from the Nathaniel Hawthorne Estate, which I was asked to represent.
Included in my many 19th century adventures were the papers of Richard Watson Gilder, editor of Century magazine and Scribner’s monthly. It was he, a close friend and colleague of Samuel Clemens, who edited Huckleberry Finn. Some of those drafts were present in the Gilder papers, as well as long letters discussing another close associate, Walt Whitman.
I also had the honor of representing the papers of Isaac Babel. Babel was one of the two great Russian writers of the 1918 Russian Revolution. He was, at one time, Stalin’s favorite writer. Falling out of favor, he was executed just at the opening of World War II. The way in which this material survived was truly an epic adventure, both terrifying and heroic.