Robert “Bob” Friedman, Publisher, Best Friend – by Monty Joynes

Monty JoynesBob Friedman, Photo by Beth Hines

Editors note: Author Monty Joynes was a fore-runner of Visionary Fiction. I’ve admired and respected him for a long time. In his tribute to his best friend, Bob Friedman, he relays the story of the beginnings of modern-day VF. ~Jodine Turner

I met Bob Friedman in 1962 at the first creative writing class ever offered at the University of Virginia. The small class was established by George Garrett, a significant novelist and poet, who became a mentor to Bob, me, and Henry Taylor, who later won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. The three of us performed the role of publishers for an anthology of creative writing titled New Writing from Virginia. George Garrett edited the content and Pulitzer poet Richard Wilbur wrote the introduction. Although the small book was privately published, Bob and I were photographed presenting the book to the UVA President in 1963, our graduation year.

Monty and Bob in 1963Monty (l) and Bob present a copy of New Writing from Virginia to UVA President Edgar Shannon in 1963 prior to sailing for Europe.

Since I had been to Europe as a 16-year-old third cook on a Norwegian coal freighter, my post graduate goal was to return to Europe and live the expatriate lifestyle of writers like Henry Miller and Ernest Hemingway. Bob liked the idea of the adventure and joined me in booking one-way freighter passage to Europe. Our parents were consoled in our recklessness by the fact that traveling together we might survive. When we enrolled in a graduate school program there, we would also be deferred from the Vietnam War military draft.

Our adventure began in Amsterdam, Holland and continued in Germany, France, England, and finally Denmark and Sweden. We nearly … Continue reading

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