Gus Blaisdell was important for a lot of reasons, and much of his importance had to do with influence. He was a charismatic, thought-provoking teacher and conversationalist with strong opinions that he was never reluctant to share. But he exerted influence in many less obvious ways, often behind the scenes. Careful readers of the chronology of Gus’s career at the end of this book will understand that he had a powerful influence on Native American literature. He acquired N. Scott Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain for publication in 1969 by the University of New Mexico Press. This smart piece of publishing, which required considerable manipulation of the peer review process, had an incalculable effect on Native American literature. Gus’s influence on Native American literature did not stop with Rainy Mountain. As a member of a National Endowment for the Arts panel, he successfully promoted the careers of Leslie Marmon Silko, Simon Ortiz, and James Welch. Gus was a schmoozer, and people paid attention to what he said no matter what the context.
When I came to work at the University of New Mexico Press as a junior editor in 1971, Gus had already left the building. But some of my coworkers remembered him, and I was so alarmed by the stories they told me that I avoided meeting this wild man for the next five years. By the time I met him, he was no longer wild. From the day Ira Jaffe introduced us in 1976, Gus was a mentor to me as he was to so many other people. His influence on my career as an editor was seldom direct, though he did the world of letters a big favor when he sent Stanley Crawford’s wonderful memoir Mayordomo to me. But because I knew the story of how Gus had persuaded the University of New Mexico Press’s faculty board to approve the publication of Scott Momaday’s unconventional book, he inspired me to finesse the peer review process so as to publish books that I thought were deserving even if they received negative reviews from some readers. To this day when I am having a hard time with a manuscript I ask myself What Would Gus Do? Gus was probably quite proud of me for sending Paul Zolbrod’s Dine Bahane: The Navajo Creation Story (University of New Mexico Press, 1984) to about eight outside reviewers, one of whom was my brother. This is not what scholarly publishers are trained to do, but it is sometimes necessary. The Way to Rainy Mountain was panned by two anthropologist peer reviewers. Gus was certain that it was worth publishing and sent the manuscript to an impressive array of novelists; their endorsements influenced the University Press Committee to approve its publication and then served as blurbs for the jacket of the first edition (in those high and far-off times books didn’t usually get prepublication blurbs, but as usual Gus was ahead of the curve). Published in 1969, around the time its author won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel House Made of Dawn, it has never gone out of print, and to the extent that the University of New Mexico Press is on the map as a publisher, I think it’s because of The Way to Rainy Mountain.
Sometimes publishing is intuitive. Sometimes it’s counterintuitive. This book is one or the other or both, a surprise on the list of a publisher not known for publishing in philosophy or film but very well known for treating local and regional authors seriously. Gus embodied smart publishing, and in my mind, he also embodied the spirit of his (and my own) adopted city. After a visit with him, I would go home and thank the gods of publishing for allowing me to have a career in Albuquerque where I could hang out with someone as smart as Gus. Now all I can do is be grateful that I knew him for twenty-seven years.
Elizabeth C. Hadas, Director Emerita, University of New Mexico Press
Absorbing Inventories: Thomas Barrow’s Libraries Series Afterworld: The Photographs of Joel-Peter Witkin Bldgs: Photographs by Lewis Baltz Space Begins Because We Look Away from Where We Are: Lewis Baltz’s Candlestick Point Buried Silk Exhumed: The Lewis Baltz Retrospective, Rule without Exception From “Obscenity in Thy Mother’s Milk”: John Gossage’s Hey Fuckface! Portfolio Thirteen Ways of NOT Looking at a Gossage Photograph
Passion Misfits Us All: Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas Mr. Death’s Blue-Eyed Boy: Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket Still Moving Highlighting Hitchcock’s Vertigo with Magic Marker
Frank Stella’s The Whiteness of the Whale Passion’s Pine Breeze: The Paintings of Terry Conway On In: Outside: Guy Williams, Selected Works 1976 – 1982 Original Face: Allan Graham’s Moon 2 Poem: “Omoide No Tsukimi”
ON READING AND WRITING
A Gloss Annexed Vatic Writing: Evan S. Connell’s Notes from a Bottle . . . Tell It Like It Is: The Experimental Traditionalists Rebus What Was Called “A Thought Echoed in Sight”: Yvor Winters’ Centennial Poem: “Occasional Loquats”: For Janet Lewis 1899 – 1998 For Robert Creeley on His 70th Birthday A Nobler Seduction: On Plato’s Phaedrus at The Greenwood Press Slipping Across
Introduction: Radical Philosophical Reclamation & Wrecking, Project: TLP Hotel Radical Philosophical Reclamation & Wrecking, Part 1 Radical Philosophical Reclamation & Wrecking, Part 2 Radical Philosophical Reclamation & Wrecking, Part 3 Radical Philosophical Reclamation & Wrecking, Part 4
SHORTS AND EXCERPTS FROM CORRESPONDENCE
Self, Embodied: Correspondence with Nicholas Brownrigg On Objecthood and Art: Letter to Marcy Goodwin On Art Criticism and Gus’s Writing Method: Correspondence with Geoffrey Young On Writing and Its Discontents: Correspondence with Geoffrey Young A Vigorous Lucidity: An Autobiographical Note on Book Editing and Design Autobiographical Note: Letter to Lee F. Gerlach Working Through It: Correspondence with Ross Feld A Postscript to “Working Through It”: Letter from Ross Feld
Envoi by IRA JAFFE
A Chronology excavated by NICOLE BLAISDELL IVEY
Books and Monographs
CANDLESTICK POINT with Lewis Baltz, Tokyo: Minshirota, 1989.
Guy Williams: Selected Works, 1976-1982, Los Angeles, Municipal Art Gallery, 1982.
Park City with Lewis Baltz, NY, Leo Castelli, 1981.
Dented Fenders (Poems 1965-1975), Bowling Green, The Tribal Press, 1975.
Prose Ocean, Berkeley: Bear Hug Books, 1975.
Fractionally Awake Monad, Berkeley: Sand Dollar, 1974.
Essays in Books
Artist interview, Contance DeJong Metal, Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 2003
“Thirteen Ways of NOT Looking at a Gossage”, The Romance Industry, Nazraeli Press, Tucson, 2002
“Black Lacquer Bucket,” Allen Graham, in TOADHOUSE, Tucson Museum of Art, 2001
“Obscenity in Thy Mother’s Milk,” in Hey Fuckface, Tucson, Nazraeli Press, 2000
“A Vigorous Lucidity,” in A typographic journey: The History of the Greenwood Press and
Bibliography, 1934-2000, Book Club of California,1999.
“Space begins because we look away from where we are…,” in Lewis Baltz: Rule without Exception, University of New Mexico Press/ Des Moines Art Center, 1990.
“Still Moving,” in Lewis Baltz: Rule without Exception, Des Moines Art Center, University of New Mexico Press, 1990.
“Afterworld,” in: Gods of Earth and Heaven (Joel-Peter Witkin), Santa Fe, Twelve Trees Press, 1989.
“A Nobler Seduction”, Phaedras, Jack Stauffacher’s Greenwood Press, San Francisco, 1978.
“BLDGS” in: Three Photographic Visions, Athens: University of Ohio, 1977.
“Carol Dunham; Works Aloud,” Lingo 2, A Journal of the Arts, Hard Press, West Stockbridge, 1993
“Buried Silk Exhumed,” “Lewis Baltz: Rule without Exception, ARTSPACE Magazine, vol. , no. , March/ April, 1992
“King of Hats”, (On the paintings of Brian O’Connor), ARTSPACE Magazine , 1990.
“Whiteness of the Whale”, (Frank Stella), ARTSPACE Magazine , 1989.
“Lewis Baltz’s CANDLESTICK POINT”, ARTSPACE Magazine , 1989.
“Absorbing Inventories”, (Thomas Barrow), ARTSPACE Magazine , 1988.
“Mr. Death’s Blue-eyed Boy”, (Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket), ARTSPACE Magazine, 1988.
“Original Face” (Allan Graham), ARTSPACE Magazine , 1986.
“Passion Misfits Us All” (Wim Wender’s Paris, Texas), ARTSPACE Magazine, 1985.
“Basil Bunting”, Conjunctions 8, 1985.
“Medium Dreams”, CAMERA AUSTRIA, 1983.
“Abstracts of Intimacy” (Stanley Cavell), New Mexico Studies in the Fine Arts, Vo. VI, Albuquerque 1981.
“Park City”, ARTSPACE Magazine, Albuquerque, 1980.
“Viz., Poetry” New Mexico Studies in the Fine Arts, Vo. IV, Albuquerque, 1979.
“Terry Conway”, ARTSPACE Magazine, Vo. 4, No. 1, Albuquerque, 1979.
“Don Dudley”, ARTS Magazine, 1979.
“Radical Philiosophical Reclamation & Wrecking”, ARTSPACE, Southwestern Contemporary Ars Quarterly, Vo. 2, No. 4, Albuquerque, Summer 1978.
“Radical Philiosophical Reclamation & Wrecking”, ARTSPACE, Southwestern Contemporary Arts Quarterly, Vo. 2, No. 2, Albuquerque, Winter 1977-78.
“Radical Philiosophical Reclamation & Wrecking”, ARTSPACE, Southwestern Contemporary Arts Quarterly, Vo. 2, No. 1, Albuquerque, Fall 1977.
“Radical Philiosophical Reclamation & Wrecking”, ARTSPACE, Southwestern Contemporary Arts Quarterly, Vo. 1, No. 3, Albuquerque, Spring 1977.
“Rebus”, on photographer John Gossage, ARTSPACE, Southwestern Contemporary Arts Quarterly, Vo. 1, No. 2, Albuquerque, Winter 1976-77.
“Larry Goddell; Co(s)mic Clown”, ARTSPACE, Southwestern Contemporary Arts Quarterly, Vo. 1, No.1, Albuquerque, 1976.
“O BATEAU”, MEASURE 6/7, The Tribal Press, Bowling Green,1974.
“Prose Ocean Number Nine: Ukiyo-e Ocean”, STOOGE 11, Oconomowoc Lake,1974.
“Somewhere Gogol”, MEASURE, The Tribal Press, Bowling Green, 1973.
“Spaces”, New Mexico Quarterly, Winter-Spring, Vo. XXXVIII No. 4; Vo. XXXIX, No.1, 1969.
“A Gloss Annexed”, Cafe Solo, Summer, Albuquerque, 1969.
“After Ground Zero: The Writings of Evan S. Connell, Jr.,”, New Mexico Quarterly, Vo. XXXV No. 2, Albuquerque, (Summer),1966.
“Bio of a Swallow”, New Mexico Quarterly, Vo. XXXV No. 2, Albuquerque, (Summer),1966.
“James Baldwin: A Literary Assessment,” reprint in Negro Digest Volume XIII, No. 3, January 1964
“SHAZAM and the Neon Renaissance, ( on writer Ken Kesey)”, Author & Journalist, Denver, 1963.
“James Baldwin: A Literary Assessment”, Author & Journalist, Denver, 1963.
“Alan Swallow……………………, Author & Journalist, Denver,1963.
“A-Talonis”, Sequoia, Stanford Literaray Magazine, Palo Alto, 1956.
Denver Post, freelance reviewer of books and films, 1961-1963
Aspen Times, visiting summer critic, 1970’s.