I wrote recently about the poet and editor William Packard, and the acts of kindness he extended to me when I was a young man, just out of college, trying to pay the rent by writing and reading poetry — which led to episodes such as the one, which I described in my previous essay, that involved Packard buying a sandwich and silently sliding half of it across the table to me — the ravenous look in my eye as I glanced at Packard’s sandwich must have been the giveaway — either that or the saliva dripping from the corners of my twitching mouth.
William Packard was an exceptional man and an exceptional writer.
I recently encountered this very interesting video of a brief interview with Packard, recorded in the late 1980s, at a book fair, in which he makes some prescient comments about books, writers and writing.
Here’s the video:
And here, for the record, is William Packard’s obituary from The New York Times:
William Packard, 69, Author and
Published: Saturday, November 16, 2002
William Packard, a poet, novelist, playwright, editor and founder of The New York Quarterly, a national poetry magazine, died on Nov. 3 at his home in Manhattan. He was 69.
He died of heart disease, said Raymond Hammond, executive editor of the quarterly.
Mr. Packard founded The New York Quarterly in 1969. It published both poems and interviews, and contributors included prominent poets like W. H. Auden, John Ashbery, Paul Blackburn, Richard Eberhart, Stanley Kunitz, Anne Sexton and W. S. Merwin, among many others.
The magazine suspended publication in 1996 when Mr. Packard had a stroke, but he was sufficiently recovered earlier this year to help bring out the fall issue, which has just been published. The magazine will continue, Mr. Hammond said.
Mr. Packard also taught creative writing at New York University, the New School, Cooper Union and elsewhere and wrote in a variety of forms.
Mr. Packard’s six volumes of poetry include ”To Peel an Apple” (1963) and ”Voices: I Hear Voices” (1972).
His adaptation of Racine’s ”Phèdre” won the Outer Critics Circle Award when it was produced Off Broadway in 1966.
He also wrote textbooks on writing and published three collections of one-act plays.
Born on Sept. 2, 1933, and raised in New York City, Mr. Packard graduated from Stanford University.
He has no immediate survivors.