You are invited to invite a special focus on George Quasha in TALISMAN! You can see it by going to Burt Kimmelman's wonderful Introduction HERE, which begins
George Quasha’s presence in the life and work of a great many poets, artists, musicians and filmmakers is most remarkable. And so nearly a dozen critical appreciations of his achievements in the arts have been assembled here. Written by luminaries in their own right, they are meant to broaden awareness of Quasha’s unique contributions in a number of fields of endeavor. George and Susan Quasha (a marvelous artist herself) have been mainstays in a community located close enough to New York City to be an instrumental force in the city’s artistic and intellectual goings on, yet far enough north of the city to have developed a collective character and outlook that may owe something to the bucolic experience possible there. The Quashas put down roots, specifically in Barrytown, New York, having already become a part of the avant garde that was taking shape during the 1960s and ‘70s in the city and its environs.
George Quasha was born in White Plains, New York in 1942, and from age three to seventeen he lived in Miami, Florida. Already a musician, he was reading Nietzsche, Thoreau and Eliot at fourteen, and won the Florida State debate championship at fifteen. Connected to his debate activities, while starting college at the University of Miami the following year, he won a scholarship to the then new and unprecedented International School of America. This award took him and sixteen other high school graduates around the world. They lived with local families in thirteen countries over nine months, accompanied by five university faculty including Edgar Snow and artist Emerson Burkhart. Their curriculum included audiences with the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, I.F. Stone, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, and Willie Brandt.
Following that school year, Quasha spent the summer in Paris learning French. He subsequently attended Ohio State (studying poetry with Milton Kessler, German with Sigurd Burckhardt, and philosophy with Morris Weitz), then enrolling in Mexico City College (where he concentrated in Spanish, anthropology, and geology) before going on to the Sorbonne (in order to study French language and literature). At twenty-one, he finished college as an English major at NYU.
Living in the East Village, while attending NYU across town, Quasha frequented the legendary readings at Café Le Métro, and struck up friendships with Jerome Rothenberg, Paul Blackburn, Jackson Mac Low, Diane di Prima, David Antin, Ed Sanders, Carol Bergé, Diane Wakoski, Harold Dicker, Allen Ginsberg, and others working at the forefront of experimental poetry. He began graduate school at NYU (where he was befriended by Anais Nin), studying at length with M. L. Rosenthal (in whose poetry theory seminars he began reading Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan and others, thanks to a presentation in the course by David Antin).