Posts Tagged ‘James Franco’

Ken Fields, 113 crickets, and “the sound of life”

Friday, June 22nd, 2012


“Digital humanities,” of course, is the buzzword du jour here in Silicon Valley – but that’s hardly the only drive to blend high-tech and the non-tech.  The brand-new quarterly journal 113 Crickets offers a new take on combining books and bytes. It attempts to “promote connections between the disciplines of technology and literature through the publication of both technology-orientated books and works of fiction.”  The journal is part of Hillary Johnson‘s “genre-agnostic” publishing venture called “Dymaxicon” (dynamic + maximum + content), explained in the Huffington Post here. The journal is hoping to build a relationship with the Stanford Creative Writing program in its subsequent issues.

113 Crickets came into my hands via poet Ken Fields, during a long lunch on the patio of the Faculty Club.  He handed the spring issue to me.  “The Stanford connection is me,” he said.  The editor of 113 Crickets is  Ken’s friend, Tobias Mayer. Here’s another connection:  Ken has some poems in the debut issue.  Five poems in the series “West of Amherst” conjure the shade of Emily Dickinson.  He saved the best for last, though.  The excellent “Meditation,” stands alone and is the final work in the volume, dedicated to the Franco family, in memory of Doug Franco.

“Doug Franco took several classes from me when I first started teaching.  A math major, he was interested in poetry and painting.  He remained in Palo Alto as a business man, with a strong sense of community.  He, his wife Betsy, and three sons, one of whom is the actor James Franco, are all artistic,” Ken wrote to me later.  “I saw Doug often, and his wife Betsy, a writer, sat in on a couple of my classes.  Doug was a memorable man who died this year, far too young.”

Here’s the poem:


for the Franco family

Breathe in. Breathe out. This is the sound of life –
Music and sex, the cry we enter with,
The sigh as we leave.  We are a swinging door
Through which the wind blows, even in sleep.
Hum it, and cherish it, and let it go,
Syllable floating on the empty deep.

In Memory of Doug Franco