While going through the Robert Bly Papers at the University of Minnesota, I came across two letters I wanted to share. In the past I've posted pieces from young writers like Oscar Wilde, Aldous Huxley, and Hunter S. Thompson, but the following come from two of the state's most-famous contemporaries. The first excerpt is from Garrison Keillor (age 27) and the other from Bill Holm (age 26). Both letters are dated 1969 and written after Bly gained fame for his literary magazine The Fifties (then The Sixties) and first book of poems, Silence in the Snowy Fields (1963). In 1966, Bly co-founded American Writers Against the Vietnam War and through it staged readings on college campuses across the country, which introduced him to many young poets. This kind of literary activism culminated in his winning the National Book Award for his politically-charged The Light Around the Body (1967). It is hard to overstate the influence Bly had on his contemporaries during the decade. Although both Keillor and and Holm later found their own fame for A Prairie Home Companion and The Music of Failure (1985), respectively, these were still decades away. In fact the two would become good friends with Keillor calling Holm, "The sage ... a colleague of Whitman born one hundred years too late."
After working a series of odd jobs around the country, in 1914, at the age of 21, Olson returned to Minneapolis and attended night-classes at the Northwestern College of Law (now the William and Mitchell College of Law). The next year he graduated and passed the bar exam. But after doing so, he was sued by his law school over unpaid tuition fees. What happened next is recounted by Joseph Poirier, a college friend and later Minneapolis Municipal Judge (1937-1942): "... I recall that one of the first lawsuits Floyd tried was one in which he was a defendant. He was sued by [the] law school for an alleged unpaid balance on his tuition fee. He defended his own case, and I well recall his defense, in which he was Exhibit One as well as defendant. His argument was: "I know nothing about law, have learned nothing; and while I have been admitted to practice, you can readily see that I am no lawyer. My ignorance of the law, and the way I try this case are clear proofs that I have received nothing by reason of my alleged instruction at this school." And, strange to say, the jury found for him." (32)
In the early 20th century it was not uncommon for women to identify with their husband's full name and so when women started running for public office it raised an interesting question - how should their names be listed? In Minnesota this question was answered when, in 1922, DNC-member "Mrs. Peter Oleson," Anna Dickie Olesen, announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate. In what would be the state's first direct election of a senator with a full electorate, it was an open question which name would appear on the ballot.
Introduction: The Cold of Winter Is Just A Dream On November 8, 2013, I'll turn twenty-three years old. To many of my "experienced and enlightened" readers this may not seem like much of a milestone, but to me, though, it feels like an awakening. Here's how I see it: while the exact age is arbitrary, … Continue reading Four Men in May (Part 1): Memory, Oscar Wilde, and Aldous Huxley
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Joshua Preston, Chairman of the Student Senate Email: Prest202@morris.umn.edu Contact: Kate Brickman, Press Secretary, Minnesotans United for All Families Phone: 815-343-9299 Email: Kate@mnunited.org UNVERSITY OF MINNESOTA STUDENT SENATE OFFICIALLY OPPOSES MARRIAGE AMENDMENT On March 1, 2012, the University Student Senate, which represents all 67,000 students of the University of Minnesota across … Continue reading UMN Student Senate Opposes Marriage Amendment
Hey everyone, My name is Joshua Preston and I am the Chairman of the University of Minnesota Student Senate, which represents all 67,000 students of the University system. One thing that we will be doing this Thursday, March 1, is voting on a resolution saying that we believe the marriage amendment to be antithetical to … Continue reading UMN Student Senate to reject proposed marriage amendment