Frank Waters Remembered in Letters and Commentary
Publication Year: 2017
In the late 1960s, while heading up the Western operations for Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Alan Kishbaugh met the distinguished writer Frank Waters in Taos, New Mexico. From 1968 until Waters’s death almost thirty years later, the two wrote each other hundreds of letters. This annotated collection of their correspondence reveals Waters’s profound engagement with the land and cultures of the Southwest.
A lively introduction to the breadth of Waters’s work, Deep Waters touches on themes of ecology, philosophy, pre-Columbiana, Eastern philosophy, Egyptology, American Indians, and a host of other subjects reflecting the great cultural shifts occurring at the time. Kishbaugh and Waters write of the women in their lives, mutual friends, writing and publishing challenges, and newly discovered books. Their letters offer new views of the legendary writers’ colonies of Santa Fe and Taos and the arrival of the counterculture in New Mexico.
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraphs
Alan Louis Kishbaugh
It is an arguable assertion that books change lives, but I believe they do.
Everything that we experience, reject, or digest has its effect on us, be it
seen or unseen.
I have always viewed myself as a product of the land, of the American West where, from earliest memory, I was exploring vacant lots, ravines, foothills, mountain ridges, deserts and, later, jungles and seas. Nature, for me, has been my greatest teacher, my enduring guide, and my constant companion. She is my severest critic...
I want to thank the University of New Mexico for having the good sense to
secure Frank Waters’s archives on the eleventh hour of the collection going
elsewhere. In this we can thank his wife, Barbara Waters, for giving them
what for and reminding them of the value of their great homegrown writer.
Their preservation of these materials, and the papers of John L. Sinclair as well, at the Center for Southwest Research in UNM’s Zimmerman Library, make it possible for countless scholars and fans and general researchers to access the work of these...
I have always considered myself a literary man, having begun my own writing at the age of nine. In the ensuing years, from then to now, I have amassed a desultory writing record, the output of which could be characterized by the phrase “fits and starts.” I have dabbled, committed, anguished, abandoned, and frantically produced all in the name of the muse and have, as occasioned by this poor attendance record, alas, only a small output to show for it. Nonetheless, over the years...
Chapter One: 1967 to 1970
Our first meeting, Pumpkin Seed Point is published, comments on The Teachings of Don Juan and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Later, a Christmas visit to Taos, and to Hopi, and the submission of Pike’s Peak to Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Visits with John Manchester, Dorothy Brett’s birthday party, and continuing film interest in The Man Who Killed the Deer. Pumpkin Seed Point and Book of the Hopi come to paperback. Frank’s sister Naomi dies, Frank’s astrology chart, and my attempt to purchase the Midas of the Rockies manuscript. My comparison of Frank to Hesse, the writing...
Chapter Two: 1971 to 1974
Frank travels in Mayan country to explore old ruins in Mexico and Guatemala. Writing of Fever Pitch and Closed Journey, Frank’s horses, John Manchester’s visit to LA, and Frank’s first-ever telephone. Swallow publisher Mort Weisman visits Frank. Frank’s leg continues to be a problem. Frank introduces me to Tsankawi, Mexico Mystique taking form. White Bear problems at Hopi, my trip to Peru and Machu Picchu, and my film interest in The Woman at Otowi Crossing. Frank visits me in California, meets with Krishnamurti, and sends gift of bolo tie as thanks. Cowboy Hall...
Chapter Three: 1975 to 1978
I hike the Na Pali Coast trail on Kauai, and spend two weeks running the Colorado River rapids and visit Taos. Frank sends another bolo tie to replace the lost one. This one has a design of a Mayan glyph for movement, 4-Ollin. We exchange writings on John Sinclair, Mexico Mystique, Oaxaca, royalties, rug weaver Sophie Graves, and Frank’s honorary doctorate of letters at New Mexico State University (Las Cruces). Frank writes of Hopi traditionalists, W. Y. Evans-Wentz, his China trip, Tucson and Barbara Hayes, Nauhatl scholar Thelma Sullivan, and Hyemeyohsts...
Chapter Four: 1979 to 1982
Stella Resnick, my wife-to-be, meets Frank for the first time, in Taos, and Swallow and Ohio Press merge. I introduce Frank to John West’s Serpent in the Sky. We exchange thoughts on Schwaller de Lubicz, Santa Ana cacique Valencio Garcia, and our mutual attraction to the symbolism of uroboros. Frank and Barbara marry in Tucson. Stella and I visit Taos and I submit my pipe piece, “Chasing the Briar,” and discuss Stella’s writing of her first book. We attend the Los Angeles Times Book Awards and I speak to Art Seidenbaum of the importance of Frank’s work and I begin to act as agent...
Chapter Five: 1983 to 1986
Barbara writes detailed letters of their adventures in Peru. I express interest in purchasing rights to Otowi as a film. I read Cuchama and Sacred Mountains, Barbara retires from teaching, and I write about taking Krishnamurti to Los Alamos, visiting Taos, and attending various Indian ceremonies. Krishnamurti dies. Frank has eye operation for cataracts and Barbara goes for a masters at University of Arizona. Flight from Fiesta is published and Frank’s agent of forty or fifty years, Joan Daves, visits him in Taos, where they meet...
Chapter Six: 1987 to 1990
Stella and I travel to Greek island of Skyros, where I speak about Indians and Frank’s books. I leave Farrar, Straus and Giroux after twenty years. John Manchester dies. I climb Mt. Whitney and Barbara has knee surgery. I still pursue Otowi for a film, Frank writes his last solo letter to me and Barbara takes over future correspondence. Barbara’s father dies, I take hikes in a remote part of Utah and climb California’s Mt. Shasta. Stella’s Self magazine cover story is published and we visit Taos for Frank Waters Day and dinner at Casa Cordova. I climb...
Chapter Seven: 1991 to 1994
Stella’s book, The Pleasure Zone, is published, and I begin to write a monthly civics newsletter and send copies to Frank and Barbara. Frank celebrates his ninetieth birthday. Frank and Barbara come to Anaheim to visit her mother. Frank is in a wheelchair and on oxygen. Stella and I go to Romania as guests of the government. The Frank Waters Foundation is formed in June 1993, John Sinclair dies, and Frank enters the hospital. Stella starts Talk Theater cabaret in Los Angeles, and Alton Walpole secures film rights...
Chapter Eight: 1995 to 1996
Frank dies. Barbara beautifully recounts in her book, Celebrating the
Coyote, how they found him beside his bed, “head oriented toward
the East, face down to the Earth, of course.”
Personal notes come in her Christmas greetings.
On June 3, 1995, at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon, Frank died in Taos. He was less than two months shy of his ninety-third birthday. Barbara telephoned me soon afterward to give me the news. She was composed and gave the facts...
It is now over twenty years since Frank Waters left this planet. I can hardly
believe it, for he is very much with me even now and will be, I suspect, until
the end of my days.
When the famed cornetist and composer Bix Beiderbecke died, the news of it reached his close friend, Hoagy Carmichael. “He’s gone,” another friend told him. And Hoagy replied, “No he’s not. I can hear him from here.”
And so it is with Frank. Echoes of earlier conversations and time spent together visit me often and without invitation. They are in that...
Page Count: 376
Publication Year: 2017
OCLC Number: 958205577
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