Kurt Vonnegut, a real human being

c Photo Joy Harjo 2007

"The only proof I needed for the existence of God was music."
Kurt Vonnegut November 11, 1922-April 10, 2007

I met Vonnegut when I was a graduate student at the University of Iowa, after he read to a packed auditorium, at the workshop post-reading party. Many of those post-reading parties were rife with shameless hustles by students and visiting writers for attention and publishing opportunities. Most of us went for the food and drink. We were hungry graduate students. I remember Vonnegut at the edge of the humming crowd, unmoved by adoration. He recognized the game. He was unpretentious. He came over and talked to me. He apologized for the way the people in this country treated Indians. Despite the images of violence that haunted him, Vonnegut remained in awe of creation. He was a real human being. We will miss him here.



Catherine Rainwater said...

I agree--he was a real human being. I loved his works when they first started appearing. I was an undergraduate college student, and my friends and I had a vocabulary sprinkled with Vonnegut coinages--granfalloon festival, etc.

Best wishes to you. I continue to admire your work. You spoke at the college where I teach (St. Edward's Univ. in Austin, TX) a few years ago. You were a big hit!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for testifying to his humanness. His voice is missed.

Brandon said...

I often wonder about him, especially now finding myself in his homestate. I wonder how he lived here. Ha, I am awful.