Hello to anyone who loves Austin or poetry and especially Albert Huffstickler’s poetry!
Could you send, by e-mail or post, a note to the Austin City Council to give your approval for naming a small Austin park in his honor?
At the end of this request will be further explanation, copied from e-mails from Rob Elzy Cogswell, current president of the Austin Poetry Society and old friend of Huff’s. But the skinny is simply, send an e-mail to all Austin city council members with this address: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/council/groupemail.htm — and their names are:
- Mayor Lee Leffingwell
- Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez
- Council Member Place 1 Chris Riley
- Council Member Place 3 Randi Shade
- Council Member Place 4 Laura Morrison
- Council Member Place 5 Bill Spelman
- Council Member Place 6 Sheryl Cole
You could say something like this (feel free to copy and paste):
Yes! The little park across from City Hall (Cesar Chavez and South First Street) just north of Ladybird Lake should be named for Albert Huffstickler, the grand old man of Austin Poetry (as he was called by the Austin International Poetry Festival). He is internationally respected and Austin-beloved.
[Then add your name and anything you like, of course. Born in Austin? Poet? Resident of Texas? Anything.] If you’d rather send a real mail letter, the address is: 301 West 2nd, Austin 78701.
Further explanation from e-mails from Elzy Cogswell, president of the Austin Poetry Society and friend of Huff’s from way back in the 60s, is below. At the very bottom are lines from a poem Huff had published in the Concho River Review in the spring of 1991 with mention of Lady Bird. Thanks a lot for doing this. Sylvia Manning
was not the Poet Laureate of the United States. Although he was recognized as the Poet Laureate of Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He had won the Austin Book Award for his collection, Walking Wounded (1989), but he was not even the Poet Laureate of Texas. He never won a Nobel Prize, or even a Pulitzer. He wrote poetry every day all his life, and he was published almost as frequently. Although he won his share of honors, I feel closer to the Huffstickler who didn’t get rich on poetry. I share that with him and with all the other poets who are friends of mine. Huff lived for poetry every day until his death on Feb. 25, 2002. We who have remembered him annually in memorial readings also live for poetry, and with him, we know that beautiful language is for the sake of people who are ready to benefit from it.
A year or more ago, the Austin Poetry Society Board of Directors began working toward planting a tree in a public park to be called the Poetree. Then recently, an opportunity arose for something better. The city has a very small park area and wants a name for it. It’s a triangular piece of land with about eight large oaks, many of them with double-trunks. It already has a supply of limestone benches in the shade of the trees. The place is directly across from City Hall in the middle of the intersection of Cesar Chavez and South First Street, just north of Ladybird Lake.
The Board of Directors asked me to nominate Huff’s name for the park. I have therefore submitted this name: Albert Huffstickler Poetree Grove. If you knew Huff (or if you love poetry), perhaps you would like to join me in this nomination by asking the Parks Department to name the park for Huff. If we were successful, this little jewel of a park could become a focal point for all the Austin poetry organizations, all the people who come for special events like Austin International Poetry Festival, and perhaps most importantly, for individual poets who just want to sit down and think. Rob Elzy Cogswell