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Old 12-30-2009, 02:09 PM
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Jennifer Reeser Jennifer Reeser is offline
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Default Rachel Wetzsteon dead

Ernest Hilbert posted the horrible news on his Facebook page this morning. Possibly suicide. I didn't personally know Rachel, but I read her, and had the privilege of appearing with her in the formal anthology, Phoenix Rising. The link to Ernest's e-verse radio announcement:

What evil tidings.
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:44 PM
David Mason David Mason is offline
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Oh no. I am so deeply sorry to hear of this.
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:50 PM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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This is just awful news. I didn't know Rachel, but I certainly knew and admired her work. Sad loss to poetry.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:11 PM
Gregory Dowling Gregory Dowling is offline
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This is terrible news. I knew Rachel from critical seminars at West Chester and she was a lovely person as well as a very fine poet. I'm sadder than I can say.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:18 PM
Rhina P. Espaillat Rhina P. Espaillat is offline
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I'm stunned and saddened by this news: Rachel was lively and witty, a fine poet, with so much of her life before her, and so much talent!
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:00 AM
Alex Pepple Alex Pepple is offline
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I did not know her, but this is terrible and sad news.
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Old 12-31-2009, 01:04 AM
David Rosenthal David Rosenthal is offline
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What horrible news. I didn't know her either, but she was pretty much the same age as me, so I kept an eye on her. How terribly, terribly sad.

David R.
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Old 12-31-2009, 04:49 AM
A. E. Stallings A. E. Stallings is offline
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Location: Athens, Greece
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I am passing on information from Rachel Hadas: Rachel Wetzsteon was found dead in her apartment on Monday the 28th, though she may have died on Christmas Eve. She had apparently been in the grips of a deep depression for the past year. "There are no immediate plans for a memorial service, but it seems likely her friends will at the very least want to celebrate the posthumous publication of her book next fall. Funeral arrangements are private."


I did not know her as well as I would have liked, but was always delighted to run into her and exchange words and laughter at West Chester. The dark strain in the wit of her poetry seems more in evidence in recent work, though perhaps that is the bleak 20/20 of hindsight. She was a good friend of Sarah Hannah, and did the the generous afterward to her friend's posthumous volume. Rachel emphasized Sarah's life and her work rather than the circumstances of her death by suicide, and concluded: her ... "loss is inconceivable. But I'm learning to be grateful for my memories of her, and for the fact that readers who never got to meet this marvelous person can at least look forward to discovering her marvelous poems." I hope her work and life can bring some comfort--even if there can ultimately be no answers--to her friends and family over what will surely be a difficult time (indeed, lifetime) of grieving.

Last edited by A. E. Stallings; 12-31-2009 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:40 AM
Terese Coe Terese Coe is offline
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Such hard news. Rachel was a sharp observer of humanity. I didn't know her personally, but always enjoyed the subdued ironies of her work.
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:47 AM
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Marilyn Taylor Marilyn Taylor is offline
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Location: Madison, WI USA
Posts: 140

Devastating, wrenching news. Thank you so much, Alicia and Jennifer, for filling in a few of of the blanks for us. I knew Rachel by way of West Chester and a couple of other conferences, and I remember her for her warmth and her earnestness and her intrinsic likability. She will be much missed by many. (Incidentally, news of her death also appears on her Wikipedia listing.)
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