Robert M. Zoschke | Norbert Blei’s writing quarters

7 07 2013

Norbert Blei's writing quarters - before

click the image above to enlarge…

Robert M. Zoschke | Norbert Blei's writing quarters

Robert M. Zoschke | Norbert Blei's writing quarters

Robert M. Zoschke | Norbert Blei's writing quarters

Please find the three photos of Norbert Blei’s writing quarters after Robert M. Zoschke and Norb’s son Chris Blei finally got it cleaned up. Please see Chris’s note to me as well. As Norb’s health seriously declined the past few years he spent less and less time in his beloved writing coop. During his final winter he wasn’t there much at all and the place became neglected and penetrated badly by mice. Imagine all the bare floor space and the one clear wall all covered hip-deep with stuff, that had to be sifted through with gloves and masks on…that was the cleanup. We were able to unearth several issues of literary magazines and journals from the Sixties and Seventies that Norb’s poetry and fiction appeared in that we were not aware of, and we have been able to amass a bibliography including all the unpublished manuscripts found.

Perhaps it would not surprise your loyal readers to learn that Norb was a saver, he didn’t throw anything away. As we cleaned, we found out that this included Norb saving everything left behind by his father, including his father’s old “stag” books that pre-dated Playboy et cetera. So we had some laughs along the way, and beautiful moments when we found such things as all the crayon cards and poems his children had done for him when they were little. While we were staggered to find some of the classic First Edition books of Modern American Literature that were damaged into poor condition or not even capable of being salvaged, due to mice nesting and mice droppings and years of not being protected…it was heartwarming to find his children’s cards, poems, drawings, and schoolwork protected and saved in mint condition…and in the end, that is as poignant a tribute to Norb as one can witness. — Robert M. Zoschke

Both Bridget and I are forever grateful for all the help you have given us.
Thank you Rob.



10 responses

7 07 2013
Martin Robinson

Many thanks Rob.


7 07 2013

Rob, Thanks for this. I have fond memories of Norb and the Coop. I understand what a huge job it was to take care of it upon his death. Got your postcard and thanks. It was nice to meet you. Gary

7 07 2013
jonnel covault

it looks wonderful!

8 07 2013
David Zep Dix

I shudder to think of the great diminishment of coop tour admission fees your clean-up has wrought. To see the workshop of Norblei, as I called him, ala cartoonist Herblock, as it really was could have brought vast sums.The saddest words of mouth or pen… simply these: IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.

Seriously, that must have been a tough and partly sorrowful task. The photos portray t-i-d-y, and you’ve exercised survivors rights.

D. Zep Dix

8 07 2013
Tim Stone

To Chris and Rob,

Where to start, but you did it. Thank you.

8 07 2013
Christo Blei

It was a pleasure to work with Rob on the chicken coop project. Rob’s love of my father’s work made it easy to go thru all the things dad left behind. We found a lot of works that will live on for other readers and writers to remember dad by.

8 07 2013

thanks for sending this, Rob, the before and after cleaning and the memories it must have brought out in you and the others.

9 07 2013

Clearly a monumental undertaking cleaning up Norb’s cocoon. I would have been of zero help, since I’d be engrossed in reading the papers, ephemeral, chapbooks, newspaper clips, and books he had stashed in the coop. Such a sad time we live in…. I miss the guy immensely.

9 07 2013

Wow I didn’t know what to expect when I scrolled down from the top photo. It had to happen but it makes me incredibly sad.

12 07 2013
Marie Skrobot

A hard job, no doubt.
The Coop is no more.

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