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Big Joy Oral Histories: F

Field, Edward

Interviewee: Edward Field
Interviewers: Stephen Silha and Eric Slade
Date of interview: 2010
Extent: 49 minutes

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Poet Edward Field, born 1924 in Brooklyn, New York, grew up in suburban Lynbrook, L.I., where, with his two older sisters on violin and piano, he played cello on their weekly radio program, "The Field Family Trio and Their Romantic Melodies." During WWII he dropped out of New York University to enlist in the Air Force where he became a navigator in a B-17 and flew 27 bombing missions over Germany. It was on his fifth, over Berlin, that his plane was shot up and ditched in the North Sea, the subject of his much-anthologized poem "World War II." He discovered poetry when, as he was boarding a troop train, a Red Cross worker handed him a paperback anthology of poems, and after his discharge and another short stint at NYU, Field dropped out again and went to Paris to concentrate on his poetry. In 1963, his first book, Stand Up, Friend, With Me, after 25 rejections from publishers, won the Lamont Award and was published by Grove Press. Altogether, Field has published nine books of poetry, his memoirs, a travel book, two anthologies of American poetry, and the narration for an Academy Award-winning documentary To Be Alive (1965). Other awards include the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Prix de Rome from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and The Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award. His long-time partner, Neil Derrick, with whom he wrote several novels including the best-selling Village by "Bruce Elliot", died in 2018. He continues to live at the Westbeth artists housing project in New York City, where he is working on his Collected Poems.

Foley, Jack

Interviewee: Jack Foley
Interviewers: Stephen Silha and Eric Slade
Date of interview: April 2009
Extent: 35 minutes, 22 seconds

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Jack Foley has published 15 books of poetry, 5 books of criticism, a book of stories, and a two-volume, 3,000-page  “chronoencyclopedia,” Visions & Affiliations: California Poetry 1940-2005. He became well known through his multi-voiced performances with his late wife, Adelle, also a poet. Many of these are on YouTube. Since 1988 he has presented poetry on Berkeley, CA radio station KPFA. In 2010 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Berkeley Poetry Festival, and June 5, 2010 was declared “Jack Foley Day” in Berkeley. In 2018 he became the recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. His recent publications include EYES (selected poems); The Tiger & Other Tales, a book of stories; Riverrun, a book of experimental poetry; and Grief Songs, a book documenting his grief at the death of his wife. He currently performs poetry with his new life partner, Sangye Land.

Special Collections and Archives

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