Laurence Golstein, Editor and Poet, 1/5/1943 – 4/16/2023, Ann Arbor

Larry Goldstein

On April 16th we lost Larry Goldstein, longtime editor of the Michigan Quarterly Review (32 years!), an inspired anthologist, editor, poet, and professor at the University of Michigan. I have often said that the editors of literary magazines, underpaid and overworked, are among the unsung heroes of literature. Larry was certainly in that category.  He would have an idea — for a special issue of the magazine, or for a book — and he had the knack of getting a writer to drop all else and get to work on it. I speak from experience. Larry’s interests were many; his knowledge of poetry was matched only by his devotion to Los Angeles and classic Hollywood movies. Richard Howard selected Larry’s poem “Permissive Entry: A Sermon on Fame” for The Best American Poetry 1995.

When Larry contemplated stepping down from MQR, the university established a Laurence Goldstein Prize for the best poem published ion the magazine that year. Asked about the editor for whom the prize was named, one winner, said, “what makes it great is that Larry’s just about the best there is.” 

Here is my favorite sentence from the official obit: <<< An essay on the mystery word “Rosebud” in Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane and another on poets’ fascination with Marilyn Monroe, both published recently, testify to Larry’s abiding interest in films.

from the Ann Arbor News

Laurence Alan Goldstein died on Sunday, April 16, in Ann Arbor with his loving wife Nancy and sons Andrew and Jonathan at his side. The cause of death was an overwhelming bacterial infection. Born in Los Angeles Larry graduated from UCLA, later earning a PhD from Brown University. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan’s department of English Language and Literature in 1970 and retired as Professor Emeritus in 2016.

Beginning his career at Michigan as a specialist in the field of British Romanticism, Larry moved on to offer such courses as Modern Poetry and Contemporary Poetry, and undergraduate and graduate seminars in a variety of specialized topics such as William Faulkner’s fiction, the literature of Detroit, the literature of Los Angeles, Hollywood and Visual Culture, and the literature of the city. Graduate students whom he mentored–as well as undergraduates–kept in touch over the years from their careers and lives around the world, writing to let him know that they remembered his generous gifts of teaching.

As a poet and literary critic and historian, he wrote, edited or co-edited sixteen books and published dozens of essays and book and film reviews. At UCLA, Larry was arts editor for the Daily Bruin, seeking out interviews with local movie industry notables such as director Billy Wilder and Stan Laurel (Laurel and Hardy). As an undergraduate, and later in his career, he wrote several book reviews and op-ed pieces for the Los Angeles Times, and later for The New York Times.

At Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, he founded a poetry magazine and wrote book and film reviews for The Providence Journal. In addition to teaching and writing at the University of Michigan, Larry delighted in his secondary position: “My 32 years as editor of the University’s flagship scholarly and creative arts journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, is arguably the defining accomplishment of my tenure at the University of Michigan. I changed it from a literary magazine to an interdisciplinary journal reflecting the diversity of subjects studied at the university. . . . attracting notable U of M talent as well as Nobel Prize winners and renowned writers such as Arthur Miller, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Wolfe and others. I am especially pleased to have introduced many now-eminent authors to the reading public.”

Larry especially loved baseball but also was a Go Blue football fan, always wearing his lucky MICHIGAN shirt to watch the games on TV, thrusting a fist in the air to the cheers from the Big House, quite audible in his comfy OWS home.

Memorial tributes may be made to Hospice of Lenawee www.hospiceoflenawee.orgAlzheimer’s Association, or to the Michigan Quarterly Review. Muehlig Funeral Chapel, Ann Arbor

Published by Ann Arbor News from Apr. 19 to Apr. 23, 2023.


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