Academic journal article Chicago Review

John Logan

Academic journal article Chicago Review

John Logan

Article excerpt

Late one night in the summer of 1953 I was rushing down the main street of South Bend-a half-drunk bottle of Chianti bulging from one pocket of a sopping seersuckerjacket, a copy of Horace's Carmen Saeculare in the other-when I literally bumped into the first poet I ever met: John Logan. Although we both had lectured at Notre Dame that year and had seen our first poems in the little magazines, neither of us-being young, cocky, and scared-had screwed up enough courage to seek the other out. The talk we began that night lasted almost until his death in 1987.

During his last years it was difficult, if not impossible, for me and others who loved him to "reach" him and talk; he was often drunk; at one point, I all but gave up trying and have regretted it: John was my first poet buddy, best man at my first wedding. But the John I want to remember is the one I met at Notre Dame when he was in his early thirties and knew well in the years that followed.

Incredibly energetic, wiry, with sharp Germanic features and intensely gentle eyes, John was very much the lad from Iowa in his manner and appearance, although sophisticated in taste and education. Meeting with him for a drink or dinner, you were likely to listen, fascinated, as he'd mention a passage he'd just read in, say, Harvey's On the Circulation of the Blood, switch to an analogy from one of St John Chrysostom's homilies, then dip into some raw recent experience, and he might end-somehow pulling it all together into a good intuition-with an analysis of the poet as oral masochist. …

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