On the 23 of September 2016, Alex Caldiero celebrates his 67th birthday. On the 27 of September he celebrates the birth of his new book Who Is the Dancer, What Is the Dance at Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City.

On the 23 of September 2016, Zarko Radakovic celebrates the birth of his novel Kafana / Tavern in Belgrade.

On the 23 of September 2016 Scott Abbott celebrates more than three decades of friendship with two extraordinary writers and in early October the birth of his own book.

These are friendships that invite literary collaboration, friendships that encourage and support, friendships that provide opportunities, friendships that demand good work.

That my book Immortal for Quite Some Time will appear almost simultaneously with Zarko’s Kafana and Alex’s Who Is the Dancer, What is the Dance is a special pleasure, a literary linking of three friends who are friends in spirit as well as letters.

This photo of a few of Zarko’s books reveals him as an emigrant/immigrant (two titles with the word emigracije), as intimately connected to extraordinary visual artists—the painter Knifer and the performance artist Era, and as a translator of and fellow traveler with Peter Handke (the blue book is Zarko’s translation of Handke’s The Moravian Night and the two books co-authored with me are responses to Handke’s work, traveling responses that took us into Yugoslavia before the wars and into Serbia between the wars.


In my copy of Zarko’s translation of The Moravian Night, he wrote these words of friendship:

Dear Scott, again and again we flow into Peter’s Morava, and again and again we flow out of it. Wherever this powerful, meandering body of water flows, we two, my dearest friend, will always accompany it . . . Your Zarko, Cologne, 29/4/2013


This photo of a few of Alex’s books reveals him as an emigrant/immigrant like Zarko (sonosuono takes him back to his birthplace and home for his first 9 years, Sicily), as a visual artist (all of the covers except for that of Some Love feature his work), and as a prolific poet (the dozens of chapbooks Alex has produced in addition to these books are breathtaking in their scope). Like Zarko, Alex is also a translator, in his case from Sicilian to English.


Inside my copy of his Some Love, one of the most beautiful books I have ever held/seen, Alex avowed our friendship and reminded me that I too am a maker/writer.

Sitting here at my desk I think that I too am an emigrant/immigrant. With the help of these friends from Yugoslavia and Sicily, I emigrated from my lonely self and immigrated into collaborative friendships.


How is it possible, I am thinking this morning, that over my own 67 years I have found such dear friends? A high-school friendship with Doug Moeller continues. My friendship with Steven Epperson that began in Princeton and included a joint essay we called “House of the Lord, House of the Temple”—still one of the favorite things I have ever published— continues across the distance between Utah and British Columbia. My friendship with Sam Rushforth has invigorated me for three decades and resulted in our book Wild Rides and Wildflowers: Philosophy and Botany with Bikes. And there have been many others.

I’m a fortunate man. And today I lift a glass to friendship, to dear friends.


About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
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  1. Love it that we share so many friends in common. Can’t wait to have your Immortal in hand. F


  2. II. says:

    you’re a lucky man indeed and it’s so good to see all those collaborations and friendships, they are wonderful miracles, frail and strong. wishing you many more to follow. next week or so i’ll submit a paper somewhere that has both you and zarko in it, and so it continues…


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