Troxey Kemper (1915-2002)
Intrinsically gifted, Troxey Kemper was known to his poet/writer friends as the most dedicated, smartest and gentlest of men. Troxey, with trademark humility, titled his bio, "freelance writer, retired reporter/editor, currently editor of a small magazine, The Tucumcari Literary Review". One of the last of the small press, metered poetry publications, TLR was also the best. My first acquaintance with Troxey was, to the day, six years before his death on March 8, 2002. Reading his invitation in Poet's Market, "simultaneous submissions, previously printed OK... lined notebook paper, hand-written poems OK. WHAT COUNTS IS WHAT IT SAYS." (caps mine).
I wrote inside walls papered with mass-produced, unsigned rejections from heavy, slick-papered name-droppers, all of which featured exquisite fonts of "non-rhyming junk", (Troxey's quote of college professors saying what they were sick of). What? Not beholden to the dollar? Or a politician? Where is that hundred million grant from the Eli -Lilly-lady? A humorous 1949 photo of Troxey on TLR's back cover has thecaption, "This is I ....(let's use correct English here)". This gentleman's gracious wholeness, fly-eyed vision, dogged persistence in the face of scanty rewards – (and battle with cancer, to the end, hidden from all) evades description. We hear only the mumble, "That was Troxey."Troxey stood firm in stubborn loyalty to his little family of poets/writers.
They, in turn, turned out first quality, if sadly unsung, work. (Work, when referring to his own poetry, Troxey always put in quotes). Unlike the Biggies, whose employees did not return SASEs or inconvenience themselves to respond to queries, Troxey returned all SASEs , most often unused, and every letter merited a hand-written – (and in beautiful script ) – response.