This blog is in memory of your friend, my Father.
Please feel free to send me your memories, anecdotes, pictures and eulogies for posting.
Remember, you are Voices Of Change. Voice the changes you want to see and it shall be.
Thank you.
In Loving Memory, Stephen

Please support Robert McDowell's KickStarter campaign to produce a DVD documentary--conversations with George Hitchcock, legendary poet, editor of Kayak, painter, sculptor, actor, director, playwright, mentor/teacher, Emeritus Professor at UC Santa Cruz, novelist and extraordinary raconteur. George was one-of-a-kind. He lived life large, and his story is amazing. Please go to and give what you can.

"I gladly acknowledge a considerable debt to George Hitchcock and Kayak. He dealt with me kindly and generously, and I had the pleasure of his company several times. I even gave a reading with him, once -- in, I think, Lexington, Kentucky. George read first, and I read second. It was impossible. George read his poems from loose sheets and threw them over his shoulder as he finished with them. By the time he was done, the show was over. To follow him, I needed to be a talking dog." ~ Wendell Berry

KAYAK at the Confluence: March 18, 2011; St. Louis, MO

For more information on “Kayak at the Confluence: A Tribute to George Hitchcock” contact Liz Hughes Wiley at or by phone at 210-601-5784. The website is up at

"George Hitchcock always has been and always will be the editor of kayak." -- AGNI bio, 1974

“KAYAK AT THE CONFLUENCE: A TRIBUTE TO GEORGE HITCHCOCK" will feature a range of literary events, capped with a one-of-a-kind poetry reading and multi-media tribute to one of America’s most influential and iconoclastic editors: George Hitchcock.  (Event is expected to overflow into Friday evening, March 18th, also.)
Poets (many published in Kayak), poetry publishers and literary colleagues from all over the country gathering to celebrate Hitchcock’s life include:
Albert Goldbarth
Mark Doty
Mark Jarman
Robert McDowell
Nancy Willard
William Harmon
Lou Lipsitz
Gary Young
David Swanger
Joseph Bednarik (Copper Canyon Press)
Christine Neilson (ViVACE Literary Journal)
Glenna Luschei (Café Solo, Solo and Solo Café journals)
Patty McDowell Aakhus
Amy Holman  
Liz Hughes Wiley
Michael Basinski, Curator, University of Buffalo Poetry Collection

           Participating live from Rome are:
                           Linda Lappin
                          Kathleen Fraser

Admission to Reading only will be $20.00 suggested donation; an all-day pass that includes the Reading, plus access to the workshops and afternoon sessions, is available for $35.00 suggested donation.

Hitchcock died August 27, 2010 at the age of 97, having been a poet, editor, actor, playwright, organizer, merchant seaman, novelist, professor and even, famously, a gardener. He was working at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1957 when he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee.  They asked him to state his occupation and profession.  "Gardener," he replied. "I do underground work on plants."

Hitchcock continued to write, having several plays produced, and served on the editorial boards of such publications as the San Francisco Review.  Tired of editing by committee, Hitchcock broke away on his own to start kayak, which he published for 20 years -- 1964-1984 – a “millennium” when compared to most independent poetry journals.  

Several Kayak issues feature a quote that hints at George’s aims as editor and self-described dictator. “A kayak is not a galleon, ark, coracle or speed boat.  It is a small, watertight vessel operated by a single oarsman.  It is submersible, has sharply pointed ends, and is constructed from light poles and the skins of furry animals.  It has never yet been employed as a means of mass transport.”

George’s “one-man boat” proved one of the most influential and perceptive and irreverent of any during that period.  If he liked a work, he published it.   As sole editor, he played a significant part in the careers of Ray Carver, Charles Simic, Sharon Olds, James Tate, Philip Levine, Robert Bly, Gary Snyder, Albert Goldbarth, Mark Doty, Wendell Berry, Kenneth Rexroth, Mark Strand, Stephen Dunn, W.S. Merwin, Morton Marcus, Hayden Carruth and – quite literally – hundreds of others.

“I’m not sure history has properly recorded just how unusual and important a lit mag Kayak was,” write poet Diane Wakoski, one of the many woman poets Hitchcock published during a time when women poets had a difficult time getting the attention of editors.  The first woman poet appeared in kayak's second issue: a poet named Margaret Atwood, with a poem now anthologized everywhere: “This is a Photograph of Me.”

It was Kayak where the title poem of Sharon Olds’ first book initially appeared.  Kayak Press that got Ray Carver’s career back on track by publishing his second book. Kayak Press that published Charles Simic’s very first two books.

In 1968, Hitchcock received an unsolicited grant from NEA for $10,000, "to advance the cause of the unknown, obscure or difficult writer, and in the publication of books visually and typographically distinctive."  This Hitchcock did, using the money for books by Simic and Fraser, and holding a competition "for the best poem in English on...Che Guevara."  (Judges were John Haines, Thomas McGrath and W.S. Merwin.)

"Here was an avenue to our rage, our sense of the ludicrous, the unreal that America had become," said Philip Levine, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, who collected a series of rejection slips from Hitchcock before gaining acceptance for what was to become his best-known poem, "They Feed They Lion." "I would say that for 15 years it was the most influential and most readable poetry magazine in America."

In addition to writing and publishing workshops by poets Robert McDowell and Amy Holman, visual poet and poetry curator, Michael Basinski will discuss how to approach the unusual, non-linear work of visual poets such as the internationally known Luciano Ori, published frequently in Kayak.  Publishers and editors Joseph Bednarik, Christine Neilson, Glenna Luschei and others in attendance will discuss the realities of independent publishing, both in Hitchcock’s pre-computer days of hand-presses and paper stock, and for online and print publishers of today.

The event will also feature the first public exhibition of all 64 issues of Kayak at one time, along with several other seldom seen books published by Kayak Press, including Charles Simic's first "What the Grass Says."  The very rare portfolio of prints done by Hitchcock in 1966 of the work of his dear friend, artist Jean Varda, will also be on display.

After closing Kayak forever, Hitchcock launched yet another long career, as the painter Jorge Hitchcock.  Once again, creatively unique, most of Jorge's work is oil on foamboard and has been shown in galleries in the US and Mexico.

George Hitchcock is survived by his long-time companion poet Marjorie Simon, his son Stephen, two grandchildren, Brian and Amy, and a great-grandson, Samuel.