Blow Up Spread

UMBC Magazine welcomes your letters to the editor on any issue related to the content of the magazine. Readers can email comments to byrne@umbc.edu. Faxed comments are accepted at 410-455-1889. Readers can also send letters to “Letters to the Editor,” UMBC Magazine, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Administration Building, Baltimore, MD 21250.

THE NAKED TRUTH

Our article in the Winter 2012 issue (“Blow Up”) drew a number of terrific responses.

It is amazing that photographs of dancers taken 42 years ago are an issue to be examined again in 2012. It is likely that these photographs still might offend the Maryland Senate as the subject is a man and woman together and nude. Certain concepts of what is permissible in a university publication are slow to change.

It was not an issue at the time but the dancers were a couple, they did not react in a sexual manner, they were dancers expressing emotions, feelings, through movement. I tried to capture those feelings, their relationship with each other. It seems natural that they were unclothed. If anything, I look at these images now and see the intimate bond and the caring that existed between them.

Neither Peter Caruso nor I had any idea at the time that those images would be so explosive, or even be discussed.

On a side note, years later I met the faculty advisor to the magazine who told me that he had been fired because of the photographs and he thought that I was dead. He was not too happy to learn that I was alive and standing in front of him.

— Robert Stark
Susquehanna Studio

Editor Richard Byrne replies: Stark’s photographs from that era will be featured in an exhibition at Keystone College this October – and much of his work can be found online at susquehannastudio.blogspot.com/

I was a student at UMBC in 1968, and graduated from there. I knew the whole cast of characters, including “Glenn” Blanchard, and not “Gary”! He was a brilliant man. His talents included being a playwright, poet, and musician. It would be a tribute to him to publish his play in the UMBC Magazine.

— A. Virginia Wolff ’73, psychology

Editor Richard Byrne replies: Thanks for correcting the error. Readers can find
early UMBC literary magazines online by searching “Dialogue” in the digital
collections of the Albin O. Kuhn Library: contentdm.ad.umbc.edu/index.php

I was at UMBC as a student at the tail end of that Dialogue implosion, but it was great getting the back story on the journal’s slow slide into cancellation. Given the events of the time, it was more than a little surprising to read of Chancellor Albin O. Kuhn’s defense of the journal and what it finally took for him to pull his support. Had we truly realized the extent of his attempts to calm things down, I’m sure it wouldn’t have changed things much, given the spirit of the times, but the article certainly changed my memory of his tenure.

What I really wanted to see at the conclusion of the piece, though, was a “to be continued” that promised a look at the founding of Bartleby – the journal that replaced Dialogue.

At 40 years old, Bartleby is one of the longer running campus literary journals in the country. The demise of Dialogue didn’t bode well for us getting funding for yet another adventure in literature that would likely outrage the administration. That we got the money, saw the project through, and didn’t incur any significant backlash is still pretty amazing to me, but more amazing is the fact that Bartleby remains in existence all these years later.

As we’ve gotten a great history of the turmoil of literary publishing on campus in its earliest days, can the rest of the picture be far behind? Operators are standing by.

— James Taylor ’73
Co-founder, Bartleby

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