Reviews of FOCUS 101 & Biographical info on its author-photographer

Posted May 22, 2005
Last Updated Jun 21, 2012
'" . . . A companion piece to The Face of Poetry, it contains short biographies and photographs of 101 leading poets . . .a unique book that will be of value to every reader of modern poetry.
I highly recommend Focus 101 by LaVerne Harrell Clark.
-Bart Lanier Stafford III
"The Book Shelf," EI Paso

FOCUS 101:Illustrated Biographies of 101 Poets of the 60's and 70's

"A must for libraries with an interest in contemporary poets, furnish[ing] biographic information and photos of the 101 poets featured."
-Susan Shafarzek, LIBRARY JOURNAL

?These sketches do contain some unique items, especially the poets' observations. Libraries will want to consider adding the volume."
-Charles Bunge, Wilson Library Bulletin

?Younger small press poets are amply represented among established
ones. . . Ethnics are included. . . updates and supplements those
finding lists with recent, much expanded data."
-Val Morehouse, ALA Booklist

?? answers literary questions. . . provid[es]exclusive biographical coverage.?
-Associated Writing Programs Newsletter

Focus 101 is published by HEIDELBERG GRAPHICS, 2 Stansbury Ct.,Chico, CA 95928, 800-342-1845(ISBN 0.918606-03-~8-5156, June 1979, 144 pp. pbk., $7.95 plus $2.00 shipping)

Re: Biographical data on the author and editor of the biographies in Focus 101, LaVerne Harrell Clark, can be found, in addition to the sources mentioned in the Profile and other articles related to this one, in the following interviews and feature articles:

Article by Julie Ardery, BASTROP COUNTY (TX) TIMES (Dec. 22, 1983.
Article by Elizabeth Hannan (Univ. of AZ:ARIZONA DAILY WILDCAT, Tucson (Oct. 28, 1985)
Article by Judy Carlock, THE TUCSON DAILY CITIZEN (Nov. 20, 1985).
Article by Michelle Hebert (Student editor), WIND ROW (Spring 1989), (Washington State Univ. Literary Quarterly).

2 30-minute Documentaries, one on LaVerne and the other on her and L.D., provide other biographical information.

(a)The U. of AZ KUAT(tv), Tucson, produced one that mainly focuses on THEY SANG FOR HORSES.
(b)"A Writing Life," an interview in their Smithville home with LaVerne & L.D. Clark by 9 High School Students of Bastrop, TX "Genesis" High, in 2002, was produced for BCAT (Bastrop Community Area Television, affiliated with the Austin PBS station),under the director of writer Carolyn Banks of Bastrop.
And lastly, a biographical excerpt from Christopher Woods' "Interview with LaVerne Harrell Clark," CROSS TIMBERS REVIEW (Spring, 1987, p.17), about the practices of LaVerne and L.D. Clark, with regard to each other's writings--especially their fiction:

Clark (answering Woods): "...I know my husband and I do our own thing. Even if we both write fiction, we have our definite territories. We don't try to intrude on each other's territories.

WOODS - Are you your first readers?

CLARK - Not necessarily. L.D. and I are very hard on each other's work. Since we started out in the short story class together, we were competitive for the teacher's attention. After we were first married, we would show a few lines of something to each other, and we'd rip it apart. We ruined stories for each other. Or we would be too frank with each other. If you show something to somebody, and it's in an embryonic stage, you kill it. We've hurt each other badly by showing something to each other too soon.

WOODS - So you wait until something is finished now?

CLARK - Sometimes. It varies, Chris. We've gotten so worried about it that sometimes it goes all the way into publication before the other reads it.

WOODS - Is that part of people in a marriage doing their own thing?

CLARK - Yes, but not always. L.D. has usually read most of mine before they go into publication. But I could not say that I've always read his. I think I'm more dependent on his advice than he is mine. I think we are each other's main critics. Lots of respect for each other's opinion, too, and very different writers. Even though we're both from Texas. But both, I hope, universal. As you know, Texas has many faces. In Smithville, Texas, folks, speak one way. And up in Gainsville, they speak another."
In 2005,CHRISTOPHER WOODS of Houston, author of UNDER A RIVERBED SKY, a collection of poems & prose fictions, and THE DREAM PATCH, a novel, has plays that have been produced from N.Y. to L.A. & writings in over 300 publications, including GLIMMER TRAIN & COLUMBIA.


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Novelist;poet Marguerite Young

When novelist-poet Marguerite Young, whose biography is in FOCUS 101, read for the Center in 1966, she taught creative writing at the New School in N.Y.C. and began to encourage Clark in her fiction and sparked her interest in writing about Mari Sandoz, who was a friend of both hers and Ruth Stephan's. The back of Clark's story collection contains a blurb by Young. (See the separate article on THE DEADLY SWARM). Clark's recollections of Young appear, with 3 of her informal portraits of the novelist in the collection honoring her, edited by Miriam Fuchs, and entitled MARGUERITE, OUR DARLING (Dalkey Archive Press, 1992).

Poet, Richard Wilbur

In one of the several letters, poet Richard Wilbur wrote Clark about her photos of him, he reminded her that she made this portrait, which is in FOCUS 101, on Good Friday (1973). She had photographed him on an earlier visit, too, but since they both liked the pictures best from this visit, the one in the anthology is a closer facial view from the same setting. The background shows the yard of Clark's former home in the Catalina foothills of Tucson.

richard eberhart

FOCUS 101, the biographical companion to THE FACE OF POETRY, contains biographies, and except in a few instances, a new portait by Clark of each of the 101 poets who contributed to the anthology. It is also still available from its publisher, Heidelberg Graphics of Chico, CA.

Ruth Stephan, poet & novelist

The biography of Ruth Stephan, the poet and novelist who first endowed and envisioned the U. of Az. Poetry Center, is pictured in Clark's portrait at the time of the Center's 10th anniversary (April, 1971), 3 years before her death (4/9/'74). She was the only daughter of Charles Walgren, founder of the drug chain, and she wrote and wintered in Tucson during the 1950s. Her biograhy appears in FOCUS 101 beside another portrait of Clark's, while the one above is in the anthology which Clark dedicated to her after also chosing the poetry selection she felt most representative of her poetry. The literary haven Stephan envisioned has flourished and is now in the process of expanding into a new 6 million dollar facility on the Arizona campus.