Monday, November 12, 2007

A Lion Passes

R.I.P. NORMAN MAILER, 1923-2007

Norman Mailer died early last Saturday November 10, 2007, at 84 years old. With him passed one of the twentieth century's most prolific, important, and controversial writers. Among his many other achievements, Mailer wrote for literary and political magazines from a very early age. Mailer wrote for his high school literary magazine and had a story accepted by Story magazine when he was only 16 years old. As a sophomore at Harvard, Mailer was elected to the board of the Harvard Advocate, the college literary magazine. In 1941 he won Story's annual college writing contest, and the $100 prize money helped convince his family that he had a viable career as a writer. Since then Mailer has published work in (to name a few) Dissent, the inaugural issue of New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, was one of the founders of The Village Voice, and is the subject of The Mailer Review, which printed its first issue in fall 2007. Click here to read two interviews with Mailer from The Paris Review. The world of magazines and writing will certainly be a less diverse and rich place without him.

1 comment:

Kenneth Wolman said...

AT HARVEY MATUSOW'S CHRISTMAS PARTY, 1965

My friend is screwing Matusow's babysitter,
so we all get invited to his Christmas party.

Lily Tomlin, a few years from fame,
does living-room standup.

Everyone gets totally wasted on
some of the best pot you've ever smoked.

The catered food is probably stupendous
but we're all so stoned that owl shit would taste
like bring-in from The Four Seasons.

Late at night, I go into the bedroom to
retrieve my coat, and there on the bed sit
Matusow sharing a joint with Norman Mailer.

Mailer glances up at me and glares:
looks but doesn't have to say
"Knock before you walk in, schmuck."
Excuse me, gentlemen, I say,
grab my coat, I think I almost bow like
some Austrian majo-domo, and leave.
Mailer's pot-fueled stare has burned a hole
in my back.
Now, which way is the IRT Express
back to the Bronx and the usual oblivion?

KTW/11-10-07

For Norman Mailer, d. 11/07