sembled—maybe a dozen or so.rnThe meeting was called to order byrnone Ward Taylor, a pleasantrnchap—stocky, horn-rimmed, prematurelyrnbalding—who lookedrnmore like an accounting than anrnEnglish major. About 10 or 15rnminutes into the meeting our oldrnpal Dick the Dude made an entrance.rnTall, very blond, wearingrnan expensive trench coat with arnwhite silk scarf and pigskin gloves.rnBig theatrical smile. Apologizedrnfor being late, but explained thatrnhis uncle, Russell Wirtz, had treatedrnhim to “a magnificent filetrnmignon” at some private club orrnother, and that they had “lingeredrnover a snifter of 4-Star HennesseyrnCognac.” Theatrical, hokey—butrnnonetheless impressive.rnIt wasn’t long until people quiternwillingly ceded the leadership tornMr. Charisma. A few proletarianrngrumbles could be heard, but byrnand large the whole group felt thatrnhere vas a character out of F. ScottrnFitzgerald, not some pushy littlerns — from Fraternit}’ Row. Emersonrnhad ideas, was a good critic,rnshowed a genuine interest in everybodyrnetc. etc. We had a numberrnof meetings at various places onrncampus, and 2 or ? hmes out in thernever-popular basement study atrn1927 Northwest Boulevard. By laternwinter the idea of CroTios was born,rnand by spring it actually existed.rnThis iguette may be taken as Holy Writ:rnFred Eckman was the closest observerrnand the most disinterested, if also comic,rnreporter I ever knew. Dick Emerson wasrnGatsbv himself an “elegant roughneck”rnmore moneyed than the rest of us, intelligent,rnarticulate, impenetrably private,rnand—like Catsby before him—obsessedrnwith a latter-day Daisy he was losing orrnabout to begin losing. (She was known tornus as Frances Helen; Dick dedicated hisrnfirst and best book —now a collector’srnitem —to her: Poems from the River Lo.)rnThe classrooms, jammed with thosernlean and hungry G.L-Billers, intimidatedrnsome of us. As a child, I had played onrnthe long, quiet greenswards and climbedrnwith the quieting ivy, and at 17 I had stillrnenvisioned college life as an idyll, the liftingrnlandscapes and the leisurely pursuancernof texts blending into a highminded, too satisfying pastoral. Irnwoke to find that I had to hurry everywherernand work too hard and that evenrnspeed and persistence did not suffice.rnTwo jears went by before I was able tornput together a few poems I thought fit tornbe read, nerve myself up, and submitrnthem to The Golden Goose, the phoenixrnthat had risen from the ashes of the shortlivedrnCronos. The response to my poemsrnwas a phone call from Fred Eckman.rnThe Goose needed an editorial assistant,rnand I was a possibility. The interview wasrnto take place at Larry’s Tavern, a favoriternhaunt of campus literati and other oddrnsets.rnI got there first, all nerves, hoping tornmake a good impression. For one readyrnto commit himself to modern poetry, Irnhad plenty of limitations aside from thernbright green color of my years. I had readrnsome Pound and Eliot and most ofrnStevens, Hart Crane, and William CarlosrnWilliams with a certain pleasure, but Irnwas no devotee of literary or any otherrnmodernism. I liked Nietzsche’s prosernbetter than most moderns’ verse, and Irnsupposed I would have to keep quietrnabout my attachment to Keats and thernImpressions poems of Wilde, not to mentionrnthe exploits conjured up by RiderrnHaggard and Abraham Merritt.rnEckman the Unknown arrived onrntime. Big enough to make the varsity inrnthose days; fully as fair as Emerson, but ofrnsmaller bone and finer features; cool eyesrnreticent but generous; a posture ever sornslightly stooped, a walk with a barely detectablernshuffle; a weak, hanging handshake;rnand overall a certain limpness suggestingrnnot weakness or lack of tone but arnretiring and contemplative nature. Wittilyrnironic in every phrase: RaymondrnChandler as an overworked graduate studentrnbut equally acerbic on the scene atrnhand or distant.rnFor my nerves, he proved to be allrnremedy: He was understanding, obliging,rnintelligently self-effacing. Like Emerson,rnhe had the unconscious assurance thatrncan come — though it doesn’t always —rnfrom sheer physical magnitude; it wasrncomplemented by a touch of phlegm, asrnit was in Emerson by far more than arntouch of courteously menacing aggressiveness.rnBoth men projected a calmrnwith kindness behind it—a Northern European,rnslightly taciturn kindness, not therneffusive thing that targets you and hemsrnyou in. Much Fred’s junior, and readilyrngiven to admiration, I immediately madernhim an heroic figure. Of course, I had alreadyrnmade First Reader for The GoldenrnGoose an heroic position.rnA week or so later, I met Emerson atrnhis Arlington apartment, the office,rnthough not yet the printery, of the Goose.rnThe man must have approved of hisrntalent scout’s choice: That same evening,rnI carried home a large stack ofrnmanuscripts; my elation was considerablyrnlarger. The adventure had begun.rnIn it, I figure as the most minor of allrnthe characters. I was six or se’en yearsrnyounger than the two principals, and ofrncourse the emprise was already well underrnway before I joined it. But even Fredrndiscovered there was and would alwaysrnbe only a single protagonist: Dick the energetic,rnsuave, gracious tyrant. In anyrnmild or wild Goose hunt that develops inrnthe future, the trackers are as likely as notrnto bag the wrong game: To follow thernlines of sheer probabilit)’ is to concludernthat the story of the Goose is one of humanitarianrndedication and literar}’ patriotismrn—surely the three of us must havernbeen pares inter pares dedicated to thernfurtherance of American literan,’ culturernby providing new talent with a way intornprint. Far from the truth. PronouncernGolden Goose, and you’ve uttered DickrnEmerson.rnFirst and last, the adventure was his.rnDick drew up the plans, cut the lumber,rnbuilt the shop, and ran it; with assistance,rnsometimes valuable no doubt, but probablyrnnever indispensable, from us. As forrnthat incorrigibly rhetorical word “dedication,”rnit just doesn’t fit. To some extent,rnall of us were happy to be trying to promoterngood literature for its own sake; butrnwe were also happy to have found arnplace, a noticeable place, within the activityrnof contemporary letters; Dick, inrnparticular, possessed the motive of empire;rnand much of what we did w a s . . . tornhave larks. Working quietly through thernlate hours, the fireless letterpress kissingrnthe beautiful paper again and again,rnsometimes until dawn or later; decidingrnon a format; anticipahng a manuscriptrnfrom William Carlos Williams—we publishedrnhis Pink Church; telephoningrnErnest Hemingway in Havana; analyzingrnthe handsomeness of final print copy;rnhandsetting our names and lines in thernpre-democrahc elegance of Caslon OldrnStyle or in the clean modernity of GaramondrnLight; writing a letter of acceptancernthat would make some young poetrnwhistle, do handsprings, or run ratherrnthan walk . . . with tricks and games likernthose, who gave a thought to “dedication”rnor to some self-conscious categoryrnlike “American literature”? The goldenrnAPRIL 2000/41rnrnrn