When the poet Maxwell Bodenheim and his common-law wife, Ruth Fagan, were found brutally murdered by the insane man whose single room they were sharing, the press made much of the sensation. Persons safely distant from Bodenheim’s bitter struggle for existence, who thought of him merely as a drunken shambles, felt, somewhat smugly, he had met a suitable end.
But Bodenheim’s funeral was richly attended by poets and artists who know better. They knew that to the last minute of his precarious life Bodenheim was a working writer and a productive poet, though he often had no place but a doorstep to lay his head. They came with tears instead of flowers to say goodbye. Alfred Kreymbourg read an eloquent tribute to Max’s undying sense of the beauty of life.
Maxwell Bodenheim knew Greenwich Village as no one else did, because he was Greenwich Village. Its waywardness, its dreams, its love life, were his to cherish. These memoirs are filled with irony, with compassion, with love, laughter and unquenchable dignity. He had intended to write a summing-up, but death, most grotesquely, intervened.
The publishers are proud to present Maxwell Bodenheim’s last and most fascinating work.