Window on WaldronGAMBIER, Ohio (December 10, 2012)
Eli Waldron, a man of letters and literary line art, is being celebrated in an exhibition at the Olin Library as well as in the pages of the winter issue of the Kenyon Review.
The free exhibition - "Do Birds Like Television?" - opened this week and continues through February 28 at the library's Greenslade Special Collections and Archives room. Comprised of manuscripts, correspondence, fifteen drawings and other materials culled from the Waldron archive, the exhibition documents the career of the richly talented literary artist, whose fiction, expository writing, poetry, and drawings continue to captivate and delight his audience.
The exhibition draws attention to the role played by the Kenyon Review in helping shape Waldron's literary career, starting in 1944 with the publication of the short story "Come, Hercule" and continuing in 1946 with the story "Mr. Morrissey the Amiable Printer." The international literary magazine now publishes the story "Do Birds Like Television?" accompanied by six Waldron drawings. The story is about Waldron, his upstairs neighbor who keeps seven birds, and their mutual connection with the author of The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran. The story reflects Waldron's engagement with his Greenwich Village neighborhood in the late 1960s and was described as "lovely" by David Lynn, editor of the Kenyon Review and professor of English.
"It's a testament to Waldron's work that he was never trapped in a period style, and this story worked as well for us now as it would have in 1969, when Waldron wrote it," Kenyon Review Managing Editor Tyler Meier said. "There's a terrific sense of play in the prose that is amplified by the illustrations. They pair well." The story, he said, "reminds us to muse, to befriend, to dream a little."
Having gained recognition for his stories published in the Kenyon Review and in other literary journals, Waldron moved from his native Wisconsin to New York in 1947. Often writing with a satirical bent, he continued through the mid 1970s to generate essays, articles and stories that were published in periodicals such as Collier's, the Saturday Evening Post, Holiday, Rolling Stone, and the New Yorker. Waldron produced works of fiction, poems, plays, screenplays, and drawings until his death in 1980, at age 64.
Longtime New Yorker editor William Shawn said that what Waldron wrote "gleamed, and gleams brighter with the passage of time."
The exhibition was prepared by Eli Waldron's daughter Zoe Waldron in cooperation with Kenyon College. To learn more about the exhibition, call 740-427-5191.
The winter issue of the Kenyon Review may be purchased at www.kenyonreview.org.