For sale in the auction are two copies of Idaho Review. By way of explanation, I first reprint a blog post from December of 2008:
Way back when Population 485 came out, a New York editor contacted me with kind words and said she would support my writing. I thought this unusual, as she did not work for my publisher – in fact, she worked for a competing publisher. But I quickly came to learn that this was simply the way Carol Houck Smith lived, and indeed she put in many kind words for me over the years.
I had the privilege of meeting face-to-face with Carol Houck Smith only two or three times. She was graceful, stylish and tiny. But above all, she had a common touch. She would come down from the glass towers in Manhattan and out here to where the rest of us live as eagerly as if she were attending a black tie event in some grand New York edifice. In my case, she would put me completely at ease in my scuffed boots and wrinkled t-shirt, speaking earnestly and – I especially loved this – heartily while simultaneously maintaining her old-school East Coast elegance. Invariably she would discuss your latest work (I saw her do this with writers of all stripes and genres) with such specificity and detail that it became evident she had not only read it, she had read it closely and carried it with her.
I have no special claim on Carol Houck Smith, and we last communicated maybe three or four months ago regarding a book of poetry. But she advocated for me over the years in ways I greatly appreciate and even more ways I will never know – just as she did for thousands of others. I am simply grateful to have known Carol Houck Smith.
What I failed to mention in that post is that I once head-butted Carol Houck Smith, nearly becoming the clodhopper that clumsily abbreviated literary history. With respect for Carol’s memory, that story is told in a brief essay included in the copies of Idaho Review currently available in the auction.
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