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Why I built this site

Some may have found other sites where I've posted copies of some of the newspaper articles archived here. I am a keeper of blogs, or weblogs.

I've seen these types of sites used as more permanent memorial web pages. Many people can contribute to such sites: family, friends, students, and in this case, literary admirers. I built another such site this past summer for an uncle I lost who was about the same age as Jim. I wasn't sure how it would work with my family and the grieving process, but I know it helped me. The response from my family was just what I'd hoped it would be, and what I hope for this site. I know it is online and Jim hated computers, but many of us are scattered so far away and couldn't come to the memorial service...

How this site came about:

Jim's oldest daughter, Kat Paulson, found one of my blogs and contacted me, and through the course of our conversation, she asked me to build this memorial site. I would never have presumed to do such a thing without the blessing of the family, and I send them all much love.

What to do with this site:

Add to it. Here are some ways you can join in the memorial.

Easiest Way: Sign the guestbook by clicking on the comments link. Include a link to virtual flower pictures on the web or something, a poem, a quote, whatever, that makes you think of Jim.

Second Easiest Way: Add comments anywhere you see a comments link. Add thoughts to someone else's memory or posted poem, etc. Be sure to include an email address, as I set the site not to allow anonymous comments. Don't worry, this software is also set to protect you from spam harvesters.

Third Easiest Way: Use a comments link to drop me a line requesting a contributor login ID. It is extremely simple, because you just click the "Contributor Login" button under the calendar and login. Posting a full entry to the site is as easy as filling out a web form to order a book at, except no one will ask you for your credit card! [grin]

If you have some pictures you would like to share, you can also upload those using "Contributor Login," or I can put them up for you if you send them as a .jpg attachment by email.

Artwork, poetry, remembrances, and metaphysical thoughts are welcome!
(always subject to the sensibilities of Jim's family members, who can ask me to take anything down that makes them uncomfortable)

I've got pictures I'm going to add soon as well. I dug in my negative files and found the full shoot of the day I took that picture that is on the back cover of "Near at Hand" and the U of Ark Press reprint of "Joiner."


September 22, 2003 in About this site, Admirers, Family, Friends, Students | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My best memories of Jim


photo by Chris Boese, Copyright 2003-2005

This shot reminds me most of the glare Jim used to give me when I'd say something absurd that drove him up the wall. I didn't do it the day of this shoot, but Jim remembered giving me the look often enough, he had to do one goofing off when I was taking his portrait. He'd like to want to strangle me when I said mouthy things about Wallace Stevens or suggested that Emily Dickinson's "look of agony" came from Victorian "little death." Half the time I just did it to set him off.

He was a great poet, teacher, and friend. Every student I've ever taught has gotten some of Jim bleeding through. His house was the first place I went in 1987 after finishing my very first teaching job, creative writing, in the woods for 2 weeks with gifted and talented kids. He encouraged me and gave me confidence. He also helped me get my first tenure-track teaching position at Valdosta State in Georgia.

He's one of the main reasons I was ever a poet, and the one who made me memorize nearly the entire Norton Anthology of Poetry, while daring us to create our own canons. He let me work off an incomplete for an entire summer, writing a paper on Emily Dickinson that stretched to 60, then 70 pages while I also tried to memorize as many of those 1,789 poems as I could.

Nobody encounters Jim Whitehead and comes away the same. After I left Fayetteville, I still could drop by any time and we'd go into this intense, vulcan mind meld thing, I don't know what else you would call it. After about an hour of it, you'd go around the rest of the day a bit dazed. The last time I spoke with him was in 1998 or 1999, when I was getting settled in at Clemson.

Damn, I'm going to miss him.


September 22, 2003 in Memories of Jim | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack