Harry Howe was a classmate of mine; a fellow poet, also a sculptor. He was old Boston, with a deeper literary education than mine (Eliot, Lowell, etc.); but he took to admiring what I wrote and encouraging me. He was tall, favoring heavy riding boots & black outfits, liked to carry an iron rod around as a walking stick. Really a gentle person, there was something a little intimidating about his violent persona & attitudes. (It was with Harry & his girlfriend, a RISD sculptor named Marcia Pels, that I heard John Ashbery - my hero then, in my glorious freshman year - read his poetry, up at Amherst.)

The next phase of my breakdown was paranoia. I suddenly took the notion that Harry would steal my new poems, and through them, HE would become this worldly-literary-deceiver - would hold the demonic place that I so vainly had thought was intended for me - the Antichrist!

I spent a few days trying to destroy all evidence of my work, so that this would not happen! I went to Edwin Honig's home and practically ransacked his study for the poems, without success. His wife said he was up in Boston. Immediately I hopped a bus and, merely on a hunch, headed for the Grolier Bookstore. On my arrival, the redheaded owner told me Edwin was due there in a half an hour. I sat down to wait. When he appeared, with another professor, I poured out my tale, weeping, panicky. Where were those poems? Edwin, kind & patient, assured me they would be returned. He and his friend ended up having their dinner with me, at a local medical clinic, where they had taken me. After I calmed down somewhat, they saw me off to the bus back to Providence. (I've never forgotten Edwin's graciousness that day.)

That night, waves of anxiety and exhaustion washed over me. My heart was pounding; I was near total collapse. I thought to myself : I am Faust; I have lost the spiritual battle. Around midnight, I knelt down by my cot & prayed to God to forgive me, to protect me. At the stroke of midnight, there was a knock on my door.

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