* This is a special look back at some of the more successful authors who have graced HFR with their wit and attention. Some of them are authors and some are poets who have gone onto national and even international acclaim. So we are inviting you to take a walk with us down memory lane...*
It was the spring of 1986 and Hayden’s Ferry Review’s premier issue was coming out. Poets like Norman Dubie and short story writers like Cary Grossman were in its first issue. There was something missing though: Hayden’s Ferry Review had all these newbies and up and comers but they needed a veteran of storytelling. They found him: Joseph Heller. Catch-22, his most famous work, is the story that gives us a greater understanding of the phrase "damned if you do and damned if you don’t." Jay Boyer and a group of students did the interview for Heller in March of 1984 at Arizona State University.
The setting was the day after his first reading of his novel God Knows. He had been sick for the four years before 1984 with Guillain-Barrré Syndrome (GBS). GBS is a neuro-degenerative disease that causes paralysis and a long recovery needed. At the time of the conversation he was mostly recovered. Some of the highlights of the interview were when he was asked if he enjoyed reading and he said “I enjoy reading less and less because when I’m working I’m too tired to read most of the time.” When asked how he describes his own writing, he says “Well, I don’t write realistic books. I write books out of the imagination. When I say 'realistic,' I don't use reality. I'm saying realism as a way of describing an approach, because certainly I try to deal with reality.” When reading the interview you can see Yossarian, the protagonist from Catch-22 in his answers. Yossarian and Heller's voices are very similar. It is like Deja Vu, in that they are eerily similar. They have similar connotations and a certain sort of sarcasm that is hard to explain. Unfortunately you cannot read the interview online but you can read it in Hayden’s Ferry Review Premier Issue Spring 1986. If you would like a copy of the premier issue you can email us firstname.lastname@example.org.