Reflecting On the Death of Liam Rector
In the unsettled aftermath of Liam’s suicide, I am reminded of Kendra Tenecea’s January 2007 graduate lecture on the poetry of Ruth Stone and his comments on Stone’s inability to get over her husband’s suicide. Liam spoke with such negativity of Stone in this regard that his own suicide has come as more than a little shock to most of us in that graduating class.
My own thoughts go to Tree Swenson and his daughter Victoria as they process his decision over time. One can only suppose how Swenson’s future poetry will be impacted, even as those poems begin to be written within her being, if not on paper, in the now.
While we process this active passing in our various ways–writing poems of our own, celebrating Liam’s life, remembering the complex man who dominated every room where he was present, watching (or swearing never again to watch) that “brass balls” scene from Glengarry Glen Ross)–we cannot help but wonder about the future of the Writing Seminars at Bennington College.
The January and June 2007 graduating classes are Rector’s final legacy. How will that legacy be lived out into the future?
To view his obituary, click on http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/17/arts/17rector.html.