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The Poetry Project Newsletter Posts Online Supplement Containing Beautiful Remembrances of Anselm Hollo
In memory of Anselm Hollo, who passed away earlier this year, the Poetry Project has published this gorgeous tribute. It begins with a remembrance by Jane Dalrymple-Hollo—his partner of many years—first read on the occasion of the Anselm Hollo Tribute Reading at the Poetry Project, on June 5, 2013.
When Anselm and I began our relationship thirty years ago, he was 48 and I was 28. I had been fortunate not to have lost any close friends up until then, but the deaths of my two grandmothers, the only grandparents I remember well, were strangely synchronized, occurring within six weeks of one another. I was in college, and the one-two blow of that loss was so traumatic to my family that my parents and sisters and I all mourned separately, as if we were strangers. I had learned to guard my heartstrings carefully, so, when Anselm told me about the death of his dear friend, Ted Berrigan, just one month before we met, I realize now that I could barely comprehend the import of such a loss.
As I grew closer to Anselm, the degree to which he cherished his friends was revelatory. Some, like Paul Blackburn and Charles Olson, had already passed away, and Pentti Saarikoski, Anselm’s Finnish friend and colleague whose work he delighted in translating into English, had died just one month after Ted and, like Ted, just short of his 50th birthday. But Anselm told me stories about these dear friends and read their poems to me so they would become part of my world, so I would be in a better position to partake of his world. As we began to travel together, I was awed by the geographic distribution of Anselm’s circle of loved ones and how graciously they all welcomed me into their community. Not being an aspiring poet or even much of a reader of poetry myself, I wasn’t as star-struck as I otherwise might have been, but it became clearer by the day that friendships were literally the center of Anselm’s life.
As time went by, especially when we arrived in Boulder, where Anselm and I essentially “grew up” together when we both stopped drinking, I began to experience, for the first time, the heightened energy and enthusiasm that can occur when individuals feel connected to one another through some kind of shared aesthetic commitment. I soon realized that to be a part of such a community is one of life’s great gifts — something to be cherished and nurtured until the end. It is its own reward.