I’m feeling grateful today for the help that I received from my long-time friend–and my agent–Kenneth Wapner.
Kenny has been a friend for a very long time, starting back in the early 80s when we met at the University of Colorado‘s infamous graduate creative writing program. We read, wrote, shared, hunted love, and ate some great food under the auspices of his Japanese knife.
What I cherish most about my time with Kenny in those days, though, was that he taught me how to fish mountain streams. We made many excursions up into the canyons around Boulder, and sometimes ventured into northern Colorado to take trout out of the murky torrents of an early-season Cache la Poudre River.
Years passed. (What else do they do?) and Kenny became “an editor, writer, book packager, literary agent, and publisher” as well as the founder of “Asia Arts and Culture, LLC, a company . . . that seeks to bring Asian culture to the West.” He “has worked on . . . bestsellers, won awards, and has been published around the world.”1 A world traveler and gourmet, you might find him on assignment in Japan or Singapore, but home is in the quiet Catskill mountains of upstate New York, where, yes, good trout are to be had.
With his own East-West interests, Kenny had no trouble at all in guiding me toward a presentable draft of The Driftwood Shrine. As I explain in my book, Kenny’s advice was
. . . always remarkably persuasive, insightful, and even passionate. And he is dependable, a rare quality. In an era when most of us need to prod others for attention, it was refreshing to know that Kenny would often be the one to place a call or to write to me with helpful thoughts and encouragement. That kind of assistance is simply indispensable when working on a complex book that interweaves multiple topics and reaches toward (in the case of The Shrine) cultural traditions that are worlds apart in time and space.
–from The Driftwood Shrine: Discovering Zen in American Poetry
I owe a great debt of gratitude to you, Kenny!
- Wisdom Publications. “Kenneth Wapner | Wisdom Publications.” N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.