Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Liam Rector (1949-2007)

I just heard from Terry Winch that his good friend Liam Rector has committed suicide. Liam had had severe health problems about a decade ago, and his health had been detiorating recently. He shot himself.

Liam was very much connected to the DC poetry scene. He was involved in Mass Transit, and read in the Folio series with Ann Lauterbach.

Here is more information about him from the Academy of American poets.

Liam Rector was born in Washington, D.C. in 1949. He holds an M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

His books of poems include The Executive Director of the Fallen World (University of Chicago Press in 2006), American Prodigal (1994) and The Sorrow of Architecture (1984).

His poems have appeared in Agni, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, The New Republic, Boston Review, Slate, Ploughshares, and elsewhere.

His reviews and essays have appeared in magazines and books that include American Poetry Review, The Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Boston Globe, Hudson Review, Bostonia, The Oxford Companion to Literature, and Contemporary Poets.

"Liam Rector is one of the most linguistically liquid and gifted poets of his generation," said poet Lucie Brock-Broido. "His is the oddest and most hallucinatory romance with Romance in American letters."

Rector's honors include fellowships in poetry from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he received the Friend to Writers Award from PEN New England. He has served as poetry editor of Harvard Magazine and as associate editor of Harvard Review and Agni.

Rector edited The Day I Was Older: On the Poetry of Donald Hall (1989), and co-edited On the Poetry of Frank Bidart: Fastening the Voice to the Page (University of Michigan Press, 2007).

Rector has taught at Columbia University, The New School, Emerson College, George Mason University, and elsewhere. He founded and directs the graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College, and has also administered literary programs at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets. He lives in New York City.

My condolences to his family and to his many friends.


Woody Lewis said...

It's tragic. I graduated from the Bennington MFA program in January. Liam was my friend. Larger than life. He will be sorely missed, but the program will survive!

douglang said...

It is tragic, absolutely. I am sorry for your loss, for his family's loss, and for the loss of all of Liam's friends, who cared for him so very much.

Tom said...

Sorry to learn that, Doug: but glad you're extant. love, Tom

jon said...

I met him only a few months before he died. He came down for the poetry award we give. Interestingly enough, it's named for him. He was funny, arrogant, a sarcastic asshole, and one of the most amazing men I have ever met.