We are deeply saddened by the passing of Kurt Brown earlier this week. He was a monumental figure in the rise of Colorado as an important hub of literary culture in the American West. In fact, the existence of Conundrum Press can be traced all the way back to his generosity and nurturing of a young poet named David Rothman, who eventually founded Conundrum Press in 1998. We are honored to have worked with him last year on his memoir Lost Sheep: Aspen’s Counterculture in the 1970s, a brilliant three-stranded narrative of his life, the history of Aspen, and the colorful characters living in Aspen that typified that decade and who went on to influence the nation’s culture.
As Kurt reflected on his life for his memoir, he wrote,
Individual lives mean little, in historical terms, and the details of such lives are engulfed by currents larger than any one person can imagine. No one I ever knew said: “I want to escape the industrial juggernaut the nation has become,” or “I reject the arrogant posture America has taken with respect to other nations in the world.” But from the perspective of forty years, it is also possible to see one’s life as part of a larger pattern, something that invests individual existence with meaning, while at the same time, absorbing it almost completely. We live in history as if it were an element, like fish live in water, and it’s impossible to divorce ourselves from our choices, the actions we take in the course of an ordinary life. We are the actors and enactors of history, whether we are aware of it or not.
It is our hope to follow in his footsteps and build on the solid literary foundation that he established for us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
—caleb j seeling, publisher
Kurt Brown founded the Aspen Writers’ Conference, Writers’ Conferences & Centers, and was instrumental in the success ofAspen Anthology. His poems have appeared in many literary periodicals and he is the editor of several anthologies including his most recent (with Harold Schechter), Killer Verse: Poems about Mayhem and Murder, from Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series. He was the author of six chapbooks and seven full-length collections of poetry, including Return of the Prodigals, More Things in Heaven and Earth, Fables from the Ark, Future Ship, No Other Paradise, and A Thousand Kim. A collection of the poems of Flemish poet Herman de Coninck entitled The Plural of Happiness, which he and his wife translated, was released in the Field Translation Series in 2006.