Friday, June 25, 2004

Carl Rakosi Dead at 100 

Poet Carl Rakosi died yesterday afternoon at the age of 100, after a series of strokes, in his home in San Francisco. He was with his family and they were reading Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson, and listening to music shortly before he died.

Jen Hofer wrote to me that Carl's last words, or nearly-last words were these:

"A hospice worker had come by in the morning to set things up with them & she was asking carl if he knew what day it was (he didn't); or what month (he thought it was september); or what year (he didn't know); & then she asked him who the president is. He hesitated & barbara was thinking that maybe he didn't know that either, but after a pause he said "Bush -- that bastard!"

John Trantor has posted a special section on Jacket 25, on Carl Rakosi, which features an interview Olivier Brossard and I conducted with Rakosi in March 2001, which was published in July/Aug. issue of The American Poetry Review featuring Rakosi on the cover.

Click here to listen to Carl Rakosi's 99th birthday celebration at the Kelly Writers House on October 30, 2002 (an audio cast).

--Tom Devaney

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