20110822

Corey Mesler


The History of the Memphis 4-H Group
Part One: The Biographies


“But many artists are that way. They're not sure of existing, not even the greatest. So they look for proofs; they judge and condemn. That strengthens them; it's a beginning of existence. They're so lonely!”
—Albert Camus



“…{W}e struggle to write books that do not change the world, despite our gifts and our unstinting efforts, our most extravagant hopes. We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep—it’s as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we’re very fortunate, by time itself. There’s just this consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps, even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.”
—Michael Cunningham, from
The Hours



“We came together out of, you know, intellectual horniness.”
—Cord Wetrim





THE MEMPHIS FOUR-H GROUP

The personae:

Buxton Wales (1953—) painter and poet
Bud Dronetie (1954—) blues singer, songwriter
Dani Veerruss (1955—1992) essayist
Cord Wetrim (1956—) painter
Pinter Monk (1960—) poet, priest
Fret Kessler (1961—) bookstore owner, publisher
Pringle Stokes (1955—) professor of philosophy
Cara Bedwell (1965—) dancer, filmmaker
Peter Natural (1965—) novelist
Huddy Brass (1950—) poet
Norman Claycher (1954—) professor of history
Elmer Marks (1949—) novelist, singer/songwriter
Herd Mankern (1957—) sculptor
Nan Devine (1960—2010) dancer, novelist





Buxton Wales (1953—) painter and poet, born 1953 in Yazoo, Mississippi, moved to Memphis when he was five and his father (Grantland Wales, architect and designer of the famed Hot Sizzlin’ Barbecue Restaurant in Ingomar, MS) was called on to design the new wing of the Higbee School for Young Ladies. Buxton was a poor student and a worse sport, though he excelled in athletics. He was known more for his on-field meltdowns than his scoring prowess. A kindly art teacher at Nicholas Blackwell High School saw something in the merciless schoolboy and, under her tutelage, his artistic side blossomed. He began painting in imitation of Richard Diebenkorn and Chuck Jones. He had his first show at the Millington Naval Base Stephen Decatur Gallery when he was only 17. Later, he became one of the city’s most celebrated oil painters. Of his work, arts writer Fredric Koeppel, writing in The Commercial Appeal, said, “He could have been Larry Rivers but he was too cantankerous.” The reasons he quit are still argued about. Some say one mean-spirited review did it. Some say his wife at the time, Lise Teetcrock, the writer, didn’t understand his paintings (“Daubs,” she called him) and wanted him to write verse, which he did, beginning in the early 1990s. His first collection, Gimme Dat Harp Boys, was a Yale Younger Poets Selection for 1993. His second, Horrid Music, drew comparisons to Robert Lowell. His association with the Memphis 4-H Group, as they came to be called, was both a burgeoning and a disenchantment. Known for his acid wit he alienated many of his better friends, including the writers Peter Natural and Pinter Monk. An argument over what the 4 H’s stood for led to his estrangement from the group. In 2008, Pinter Monk said, “Buxton was the heart and soul of our group, until he became the fundament of it. Still, I miss him and would rank him as a poet with the best the city has ever seen.” When reminded that Buxton Wales was still alive, Monk said, “I thought he died during his ego transplant.”



Bud Dronetie (1954—) blues singer, songwriter, born in Memphis, in 1954. Bud, who later became the only African-American member of the Memphis 4-H Group, started singing at Olivet Baptist Church when he was only 5. His mother, a strict disciplinarian and a gospel singer of some note (one album, Jesus, Wait Up a Sec, 1963) raised him by herself. Bud’s father died in a railroad accident before Bud was born. Bud went to Melrose High School but dropped out after his sophomore year. He was drinking and smoking a lot of marijuana at the time and did a short stretch in Juvenile Detention (Judge Turner said about Bud, “He was a nice boy, a polite boy, but he was as restless as a cat.”) In his early 20s Bud was working steadily in various clubs in Memphis, North Mississippi, and West Memphis, Arkansas. Bud began writing quite young (an early song, which Bud never recorded, “Sandra, I am Almost Finished” was later recorded by Robert Cray.) Bud wrote the blues standard “Furbelow,” (“She ain’t much on top, but she’s plenty of furbelow”), “Swing Time Handy,” “The Seduction Shirt,” and his biggest hit, “Grace Kelly Basement Blues,” all before he was 25. His comeback album of blues standards, Down Here on the Graveyard Shift, won a Blues Music Award and a Grammy in 1991. In 2000 he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. He met Elmer Marks in 1982 and through him the other members of the Memphis 4-H Group. At their regular Saturday night confabs at the P&H Café, Bud was often called upon to sing impromptu. Wanda Wilson, owner of the nightspot, loved Bud like a son and often stood him to drinks and even paid his rent a few times. Money went through Bud like a dose of salts. In 2011 it was rumored that Shark Tooth Records was compiling a career-spanning box set, to be called I Have Some Beautiful Rejections.



Dani Veerruss (1955—1992) essayist, a home birth in Bolivar, Tennessee, in 1955, only daughter of the singer Julip Yield (Fat Possum Records) and noted botanist Tony “Baldy” Veerruss. Dani was homeschooled till she was 17 and remained in her parents’ home until she was 23, when she met Herd Mankern and followed him to Memphis. He was unhappily married at the time. In 1990 Dani and Herd were married in the Unitarian Church by the River and produced one child, a son, Veer (“Very”). Dani was the light and heat around which the Memphis 4-H Group gravitated, and her late night suppers for the artists and their extended families were famous. “She was a better person than me,” Herd said at her funeral. In her 30s she began writing essays on everything from women’s rights to hair boiling to cheese to sports, especially zorbing. She was called the “female John McPhee.” Her essay, “Hitler: The Dark Side,” drew comparisons to Hannah Arendt, was featured in The Best Essays of 1985, and is still much discussed in Holocaust Studies. She published one slim volume of essays, Thanksgiving in the Bughouse (William Morrow, 1987). At the P&H she was as famous for her impromptu tabletop readings as for her gossamer gowns and outrageously shapely legs. It was rumored that she was, at one time, carrying Pringle Stokes’ child, and that the abortion almost dispatched her and additionally almost splintered the group. Dani Veerruss was killed in a car accident at Hollywood and Poplar when her VW Bug was broadsided by a van full of drunken Scientologists. Mayor Willie Herenton, a friend of Baldy Veerruss from college, spoke at her funeral. He said, “She could have succeeded at anything she put her hand to, with the possible exception of running against me for Mayor.”



Cord Wetrim (1956—) painter, born in the Lauderdale Housing Projects, the son of Anglo Wetrim, a furrier, and Abigail “Abbie” Ellinger Hunt, a former Cotton Carnival Queen. Cord went to Central High School where he studied under legendary high school art teacher, Bill Hicks. Hicks called Wetrim, “the best nonrepresentational representational psychic automatism painter I ever taught.” Wetrim turned down a scholarship to Memphis College of Art, opting instead to study in Paris with famed Dadaist Rash Pan. While there he met the comedienne Nash Timid, and they had a brief affair. Cord returned to Memphis for the wedding of his old high school running buddy, Herd Mankern, and decided to stay. He started teaching at the College of Art in 1992 and is there today. He married Aspasia Norfleet, the actress, in 1994. He has shown at the Brooks Museum and the Pig and Whistle Gallery in Memphis, but it was his major show at MOMA in 2000, which cemented his international reputation. His series of paintings based on the gestation periods of different ungulates, Polyphyletics for the Single Gal, are in the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. His I Love You Keely Smith is in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and his Bozo in Scenic Hills is owned by The Dixon Gallery in Memphis. Of the 4-H Group, Wetrim says, “Well, it was never a group really, never really a collective or gesellschaft. It was more a coffee klatch. We were all too individualistic to cohere. Only Huddy wanted us to be a band. And he was like the Pete Best of the group.” It was Wetrim who said that one of the H’s in 4-H stood for whatever the H in P&H stood for.



Pinter Monk (1960—) poet, priest, born in the back of his parents’ van on a road trip from California to Florida. They said they were looking for Ponce de Leon’s fountain of youth. When Pinter’s parturition forced them to pull over near the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge they settled in Memphis and lived there until their untimely death in 1965 in a tragic exploding bong accident. Pinter was raised at the Baptist Children’s Home in Ellendale, TN. He attended Bartlett High School (lettering in baseball and graduating with a dual major of Earth Science and Ecumenical Scatology.) He never went to college but did study under Memphis State poets John Nail and Gordon Osing, mostly over beers at The Toast and the P&H. It was through his times in these watering holes that he hooked up with Buxton Wales and the rest of the group. His first book, Satori on the Bridge, was published by the University of Arkansas Press in 1988. He followed that with two more collections, Sometimes a Man Stands up During Supper (1992) and The Two-Prostitute Race (1998) and then Burning Tracy Prow’s Letters: New and Selected Poems (Viking Press, 2003), which was shortlisted for The National Book Award. It was soon after this publication that he had a very public and passionate affair with Nan Devine, leading to his renouncing, not only the Memphis 4-H Group, but women, “odes and epodes,” and the secular world. He entered The Brotherhood of St. Prosdocus Mission, in San Luis Obispo, California, and has not been heard from since. (It must be mentioned here that a poem entitled “Meditation on a Thurible,” which appeared in Antaeus in 2008, under the name “Willa Magpie,” was rumored to be actually Monk’s). His books, however, remain in print and continue to sell to that small, passionate group of readers who follow the 4-H Group, as well as similar poets like Ward Abel and Alp Bilge. “He ended up taking his name all too literally,” said Memphis writer, John Fergus Ryan. “It’s our loss.”



Fret Kessler (1961—) bookstore owner, publisher. Born in Geevil, Mississippi. His family was cotton farmers and they moved to Memphis in the late 70s with enough money to retire. Fret’s father bought a small independent bookstore in Poplar Plaza because they wanted to do something relaxing in their waning years. Fret grew up in the bookstore and fell in love with reading and, more importantly for his later development, with the book as object. His younger brother James “Kes” also worked in the store briefly, before marrying the choreographer, Bran Noah Hunt, who was actress Cybill Shepherd’s cousin. After high school Fret worked with the Toof Company and later with book artist, Dolph Smith, learning the ins and outs of producing handmade books. “He was the virtuoso of the Vandercook,” Smith said of him. Fret’s father died in an automobile accident in 1989 and his mother followed shortly from “grief and laxatives.” Fret took over the bookstore, renamed it City Nights, and proceeded to publish, under the name Kessler Press, the works of poets, both local and national. He published early books by Gordon Osing, Bill Page and Kenneth Beaudoin. He also published important work by nationally-known poets like James Tate, Marvin Bell, C. K. Williams, and the poet/occultist and Alastair Crowley devotee, Jase Girly. He also worked with the 4-H Group on their joint publications. Their first collection, Killed at the Bazaar in a Previous Life, with writings by the whole group and illustrations by Buxton Wales, Cord Wetrim and Nan Devine, sold out of its limited first edition in one month. Copies on online book sites like Alibris and Bookinder now fetch prices in the thousands. The bookstore became a completely antiquarian business in 2003, run by Fret’s wife, the poet, Canada Ambush. The press is still publishing. Its most recent list included books by Babs Ungar, Ed Sanders, Mandy Bush and Under Pierson. Fret says “the four aitches stand for Hurt Hot Healthy and Horny.” Canada said, “No, the fourth is for Haints.”



Pringle Stokes (1955—) professor of philosophy, born in Unlasting, Utah. His parents were Mormons but Pringle left home early, spent some time in San Francisco, and then at 14 met the modal realist philosopher, David Kellogg Lewis. Lewis saw something special in the precocious teen and inculcated him in the philosophy of Australia as well as metaphysics and logic. Pringle stayed at UCLA when his mentor moved to Princeton, eventually graduating Magna Cum Laude at the age of 20. He published his first book a year later, a repudiation of the American Philosophical Association, called W(h)ole Watchers: A Game Theoretical Prorogation. He fell in love in 1980 with the novelist and photographer June Baretime (her 2007 novel, A Short Introduction to the Neighborhood, is purportedly about the 4-H Group) and followed her to Memphis, where she replaced Walsh Lobar Smell in the English Department at Rhodes College. The couple started Rhodes’ radical left-wing group, Quidnunc. It was there that Baretime befriended Peter Natural (they had a brief affair in 1999) which led them to the 4-H Group. Stokes began teaching in the Philosophy Department at the University of Memphis, where he became head of the department. He teaches there still. Stokes published many influential books, including It’s Getting Hard to be Someone: a Memoir, She and He in a Swivet, and What Happens Next: Counterfactuals and Grigs. He wrote an affectionate biography and critical study of Lewis, My Cicero, which was praised in some corners and called eisegesis in others. He said, “Everything I know, if we really know what we know, I got from Kellogg Lewis and Mr. Peabody.”



Cara Bedwell (1965—) dancer, filmmaker. Cara Bedwell was born Caraway Weed Bedwell, in Memphis, to Boyd Bedwell, a gay theater director, and Suzy Spiller, a taxidermist. Cara began dancing in the annual Nutcracker Ballet put on by Memphis Ballet, when she was 5. In high school she danced the lead in the ballet There’s a Hole in my Beckett, based on a short story by Memphis writer, John Pritchard. In college she was spotted by Alvin Ailey, who was in Memphis to have a sinus drained. Cara went to New York and danced there for many years. She also began to study film, after appearing in a Bow Wow Wow video. She worked with Woody Allen (the nymphomaniac character Hermia, in Allen’s later film, A Day When Nothing Else Worked, was purportedly based on Cara) for a while and released her first film, Mount the Ass, independently, but was offered a job with Fox Pictures, which she turned down to return to Memphis. She worked with Truck Tankersley on Floor Monkeys, the underground smash, and then released Memphis Movie, with Fine Line Features, with Hope Davis and Dan Yumont. It made her name. According to IMDB: “Bedwell was Named among Fade-In Magazine's ‘100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know’ in 2005.” Though openly gay she had affairs with many Memphis musicians, writers and artists, both male and female, including Jackpot McRey, Zink Snooks, Buddy Gardner and Nan Devine. It was through Nan she met the other members of the Memphis 4-H Group. Her affair with Bud Dronetie produced a son, Foghorn, in 1997. Once, at the P&H, on a Thespian Thursday, Cara did a striptease on top of a table, removing everything except her Ida Lupino tattoo. “God, she had great tits,” Nan Devine said of her.



Peter Natural (1965—) novelist, born in Queneau, AR, to Recoil “Mister” Natural, a house painter, and Lide Orange, a housewife. The family moved to Memphis in 1980 and Peter was enrolled at Central High School. His academic career is hazy and the records lost in a mysterious fire. It seems he attended the College of Art for one semester and then quit to open a restaurant with Catfish Smith, a friend from MCA. That enterprise lasted less than a year. Peter went on the road for a while, as a roadie for the Memphis pop-soul group, The Cairo Proctors. It was while he was working with them that he met Bud Dronetie. Bud and Peter formed a group, briefly, with Amy Lavere on bass. That group was called Pecksniffian. After going bust in the music industry, Natural, starving and suicidal, took a handful of pills one night. It turned out to be a weak amphetamine and the end result was that he was awake for 92 hours straight. It was during these high strung hours that Natural wrote his first novel, Vertiginous Waves of Murmuring Need. It was published by New Directions and nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award. His second, This Way We Sleep, got mixed reviews but was a best seller, and did make the Cleveland Dispatch list of best novels of the year (1996). Natural began teaching at Rhodes College in 1997, met June Baretime, and became a part of the Memphis 4-H Group. He had a falling out with Buxton Wales (the two got into a physical tussle one night at the P&H) and quit the group briefly, before being lured back by Nan Devine. Peter and Nan never married but produced twin children, Inger and Lark, in 2002. Natural’s last novel was called Memphis, City of Regicide. “Nan’s death marked the end of me as a writer and a man,” Natural said. He has not written since.



Huddy Brass (1950—) poet. Born in Bolivar, Tennessee, son of a cleaning woman, Melusina Brass, and a traveling salesman for university presses, who disappeared sometime during Melusina’s pregnancy. Huddy was an exceptional student and began classes at Memphis State when he was only 15. He graduated from there and went on to do his MFA at Iowa. His dissertation, T. S. Eliot Midst the Sodbusters, became his first book. Collections of poetry followed: The Dotage of a Fairy Story Hero (1970), This Curtailed Life (1973), In Zabriskie Point (1978), Life in and Out of the Sty (1986), The History of Sequential Monogamy (1995). He was awarded a chair at Memphis State. He retired from there in 1999. The general consensus on his work is that he could have been the next John Berryman if not for his drug abuse. He and Bud Dronetie smoked a lot of grass but Huddy in due course moved higher up the drug chain. Bud Dronetie tells of one particular night of debauchery: “Huddy was a hophead and a ladies man. One night over at Cara’s Huddy took his hostess atop the dining room table while the party went on around them. Later that evening, on a combination of psychotherapeutics and Chocks vitamins Huddy sat naked in one corner, saying over and over, “I am the original Lumpy Rutherford.” He was given to such gnomic pronouncements. A few years older than other members of the Memphis 4-H Group, he was the elder statesman of the alliance, much as William Burroughs had been for the Beats. He continues to publish a book every few years. His latest, The Agoraphobe’s Pandiculations (2009), won Brass his first Pulitzer Prize. Huddy contends that one of the H’s in 4-H is for Huddy.



Norman Claycher (1954—) professor of history. Was born in East Park Lane, Philadelphia, the son of noted professor of Hebrew at Gratz College, Herbert “Swamp” Claycher, and Sookie Everingham, an ecdysiast. Norman was an exceptional student but got his girlfriend, Enny Johnson, pregnant and married her in 1972. The couple moved to Memphis where Norman took a job teaching in the city school system. Meanwhile he was writing a book about the Rosenbergs and the Marx brothers (Jews Just Trying to Get By: A Syntactic Approach, Basic Books, 1980), which won the Linguistics and History Prize from MIT. He was given an honorary doctorate at Memphis State and has taught there ever since. He received the Zelig Harris Chair in 1990. He continued to produce books every seven years or so. Morphophonemics in the Works of Howard Zinn and Robert E. Howard was an alternate in the History Book Club in 2002, The Dancing Plague: Calamitous Ergot Poisoning or Just Good Fun, won the Albert J. Beveridge Prize in 2007. Meanwhile his wife, Enny, began an affair with Dunque Wetrim, Cort’s brother. This caused a strain, briefly, in the Memphis 4-H Group, which Norman had joined by invitation in 1994. He was the only member of the group given a formal invitation to join. Norman and Enny’s daughter, Eldritch, whose beauty was remarked upon by the poet James Royce, in his poem “Eldritch among the Igmo Set,” also had an affair with Herd Mankern. Mankern was 50 and Eldritch 28. Norman was told when he joined the group that one of the H’s was for “History.” Later, he would say, “Well, they sorta hoodwinked me on that one. The closest any of those ivory tower cognoscente ever got to History was watching A Man for all Seasons.”



Elmer Marks (1959—) novelist, singer/songwriter. Born in Ripley, Tennessee. His family was so impoverished they lived for an entire year on potatoes and Fizzies. Elmer’s father was a farmer but he drank better than he tilled. His mother, Kissy Ripedunn, was once a debutante in Memphis, and fell into moods of black depression when Elmer was small. Elmer moved to Memphis when he was 16, living with his Aunt Rose Ripedunn, school teacher and private tutor in math and science. She doted on the boy and Elmer graduated from East High School with honors. He attended Yale, then Harvard, then Princeton, never actually earning a degree. He moved to Nashville in 1975 and tried to make it as a country music singer and songwriter. He wrote “The Face of Jesus in my Soup” for Dolly Parton, and “Midnight Hankering” for Nanci Griffith. He relocated to Memphis after hearing Bud Dronetie on American Bandstand. He moved in with Dronetie and the two lived together for many years, some say platonically and some say not. Elmer moved toward the nascent punk scene in the 80s, playing at The Hole and later, The Antenna. Marks had a mid-major hit “Ozma’s Prisoner,” with his band, Herbicidal Sawdust (later Titanic Nausea), in 1984. At the get-togethers of the Memphis 4-H Group, Elmer often sat in brooding silence while the drollery and wit flew around him like shrapnel. He and Bud fought like Kilkenny cats. “Elmer was the quiet one,” Cara Bedwell said. “He told me once that he hoped folks would mistake his silence for depth instead of ignorance. He and Bud, I don’t know. They didn’t seem right for each other. They tell me they were a couple but I hardly believe it. I know Elmer and Huddy’s sister had a thing for a while. She was in Titanic Nausea and maybe it was just that band thing. They didn’t really fit together either. Elmer was a fey fellow.” Cord Wetrim’s large-scale nude, “Get Up, Jeune Premier,” hanging in Brooks Art Museum, is said to be of Elmer Marks.



Herd Mankern (1957—) sculptor, born in Lawnton, Mississippi. Mankern’s parents were Irish Travelers and hence, the family moved around a lot. Herd did time as a teenager for shoplifting and assault with a kitchen utensil, in this case a lemon zester. He quit school when he was 14 but began to make mud sculptures during the long evenings in camp with his extended family. Soon, they were selling his sculptures and from then on Herd Mankern went straight. One night he met a woman in a bar who sang country and western and lived in Nashville. Ramona Clawhuck was a red-haired siren, who had slept with most of the music industry in Nashville. She latched onto Herd and some said he seemed bewitched by her, literally witched. He became friends with her brother, the Nashville TV personality/songwriter Alec Clawhuck, who is first cousin to Memphis painter, Cord Wetrim. Soon, the Mankerns had joined the Memphis 4-H Group and Herd was one of its most vociferous members. He was a natural talker. It is said that many of his stories ended up in Peter Natural’s and Elmer Mark’s novels. Coaxed to write his own story he stayed up one night with a case of Mountain Dew and a butcher roll and attempted to write his own On the Road. The result has never seen the light of day. Unfortunately, Mankern became addicted to uppers and was in and out of rehab. Herd, like Peter Taylor for Lowell and Berryman, was the rock of the group, the one with a strong shoulder and bail money. Mankern began working in Plexiglas in the 90s and he enjoyed a brief vogue, selling pieces to Neil Young, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Karen Valentine. He never really made much money as an artist and spent many nights cadging off friends for cigarette money and Taco Bell bean burritos. Ramona left him in 1990 and moved to Montana with a mysterious man, whom some people said was Thomas McGuane’s brother. Herd and Dani Veerruss were married a week later, and then Dani died in 1992. “Mankern was a sort of sad clown,” said Hannah Sayle, arts writer for The Memphis Flyer. “He could have been great but was easily distracted. Still, his “Maya Deren in a Darkened Sea Shell,” in double-knit polyester (now in the private collection of the William Eggleston family), in my opinion, ranks with the best work of Alina Szapocznikow and Starkey Kind.”



Nan Devine (1960—2009) dancer, novelist. Born Janette Angela Devine, in Memphis. Her father was Andrew Devine, bank manager and patron of the arts, and her mother, Angela Singer, of the sewing machine Singers. Nan began dancing at a very young age and by the time she was in her late teens she was celebrated nationally. She originated the role of Cathy/Patty in Gregor Melville’s jazz opera, The Patty Duke Show. She danced nude for the premiere of Pope Kale Lewis’s opera The Collective Submission, at the Rio de Janeiro Theatro Municipal. She went to Germany in search of the last living “Isadorable,” Alexandra Karina, who was then 90 years old. She lived with her for a while, then moved to Russia and joined the Communist Party. She came back to Memphis to dance the role of Sharilyn in the opera Après Richard Brautigan, and decided to stay home to nurse her mother who was then suffering from Alzheimer’s. She helped found the avant-garde Memphis dance troupe, Motion like a Stone. She began writing novels in 1999 and turned out one every two years until her death, including Take the Last Train to Clarksdale (Knopf, 1999), Thanatopsis, Kiss my Ass (Viking, 2001) (PEN/Faulkner winner) and The Judge’s Narcolepsy (Algonquin, 2006) (Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award). She had a generous nature and was said to be the Mother-spirit of the Memphis 4-H Group. “She was so beautiful men and women both would rend their own privates in tribute to her,” Buxton says. And he adds, “One of the H’s is for “Hoochie,” Pinter Monk’s pet name for Nan’s pudenda.” She was loved by Memphis novelist Ernest Vest, architect Cherry Chouinard, as well as the Historian of the Pinch, novelist Shlomo Einstein, and had twin children with Peter Natural. “She was the best of us,” Pinter Monk said. Nan Devine died in 2009 of complications from a blood clot in her lung. Her funeral lasted three days and the procession of cars following her casket was said to be 25 miles long. “When she died, we died,” said Buxton Wells.



(Acknowledgement: “Huddy Brass” “Norman Claycher” and “Elmer Marks” have previously appeared in L. E. S. Review)



Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He is the author of four novels, 2 books of short stories, 2 full-length collections of poetry, as well as numerous chapbooks of poetry and prose. He and his wife own Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN. He knew the members of the 4-H Group and discusses them at greater length in his autobiography, My Medicine is Making me Sick (Bottomless Books, 2009).
 
 
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