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Letters to the World “Series” by Jascha Kessler

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

 

Letters to the Editor

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

New York

Dear Letters Editor:

In Notable & Quotable [6 February], Scott Adams suggested “…if someone attacks your family, your country, or your freedom in some physical form keep some Republicans on speed dial.” Well, in the vernacular of our 1940s Bronx, we didn’t know from Republicans or Democrats.  We, being us 12-year olds in Pelham Parkway who used to line up Saturdays for tickets to the afternoon matinee of 2 features, a Lowell Thomas Travelogue, some action footage of battle in Europe or on the Pacific, and coming attractions.  And for a season we were pushed around and socked by 15-year old Italian thugs from the neighborhood to the east.  Finally, fed up, we called for help from our older “bros,” who spent their afternoons shooting baskets in the schoolyard.

They waited behind the ticket kiosk the next Saturday until those “wop” bullies came down on us; and then, armed with 2 x 4s, some with nails embedded, they broke a few heads and scarred a few faces, but good.  And—those attackers never returned to harm us little ones again.

 

Sincerely,

Jascha Kessler

 

Emeritus Professor of Modern English & American Literature, UCLA

Santa Monica, CA

 

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Jascha Kessler

Born in New York City, Jascha Kessler (Ph.D., Litt.D.) has received varied research grants, prizes, and writing fellowships since 1952 when he won a Major Hopwood Award for Poetry (University of Michigan). They include the NEA Fellowship in Writing, two Senior Fulbright Awards to Italy and one to Czechoslovakia. Since 1961, he has been a Professor of English & Modern Literature at UCLA, also teaching poetry, fiction, and playwrighting. In 1979, Mr. Kessler was a Rockefeller Fellow and worked at the Bellagio Study Center, completing his translation (with Amin Banani) of the Persian poet Forugh Farrokhzad: BRIDE OF ACACIAS: THE POETRY OF FORUGH FARROKHZAD (Caravan Books, Delmar, NY: 1983). He won a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction Writing for 1993-1994. He reviewed fiction and poetry weekly, theater and events on the air for KUSC-FM (Los Angeles) for 5 years in the 1980s; several dozen of his reviews, both broadcast and published in magazines and papers since the 1960s, have been anthologized in CONTEMPORARY LITERARY CRITICISM (Gale Research) over the decades. His literary essays have appeared widely. He also served as Arts Commissioner for the City of Santa Monica, California, from 1990-1996. In 2001, his translation of TRAVELING LIGHT from the Finnish won the Finnish Literary Translation Centre Award. Kessler has published several collections of fiction. AN EGYPTIAN BONDAGE, & Other Stories (Harper & Row, NY: 1967); DEATH COMES FOR THE BEHAVIORIST: 4 Long Stories (Lexis Press, San Francisco, CA: 1983); CLASSICAL ILLUSIONS: 28 Stories (McPherson & Co.: Kingston, NY, 1985); and TRANSMIGRATIONS: 18 Mythologems (Jazz Press: Capitola, CA: 1985). His latest collection, SIREN SONGS & CLASSICAL ILLUSIONS: 50 Stories”, was published by McPherson & Co., in December of 1992. Also a novel, RAPID TRANSIT 1948: An Unsentimental Education (Xlibris 2000) and a second edition of AN EGYPTIAN BONDAGE (Xlibris 2000). He has also published three volumes of poetry: WHATEVER LOVE DECLARES (The Plantin Press: Los Angeles, CA: 1969; AFTER THE ARMIES HAVE PASSED (NYU Press: NY: 1970); and, IN MEMORY OF THE FUTURE (Kayak Press, Santa Cruz, CA: 1976). Also, revised as COLLECTED POEMS (Xlibris 2000). In 2013 his KING SOLOMON’S SEAL: 76 AND MORE FABLES, was published (xLibris.com, in hardback, paperback, ebook versions).


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