"Life is sad, believe me, Missy, when you’re born to be a sissy, without the vim and verve . . ."
"I could show the dinosaurus who's king around the forest, and a king they’d better serve . . ."
Chip Delany in Herbert Haufrecht's Boney Quillen.
Camp friend Serena Rachels in the above (with choker), who shortly went to Bronx Science with Chip:
Dalton friend who moved on to Bronx Science:
The first three boys below were in Delany's Freshman homeroom, with Chuck Abrahamson behind him and Danny to the right. Gene, Mike, and Leo ran against Delany for student council (SO) rep—Delany won.
Breadloaf bus com-
panion to New York,
Geoffrey Heyworth was a high school friend, who went to Harvard and returned to New York's Lower East Side, now a sculptor, who invented the "sculpture game."
See §23.34 in The Motion of Light in Water.
A meeting with Joseph Albers at Yale convinced Heyworth to abandon math and take up sculpture, which he did for the rest of his life, during much of which Geoff was homeless.
Heyworth '86, '87? terra-cotta form.
80 La Salle St. at Morningside Gardens, which would become the model for The Labrys Apartments in Dhalgren
Barbara Wise and Chip Delany read
The Tale of Plagues and Carnivals in Wellfleet.
San Jose, May 2014: Chip Delany receives his Grand Master Award for Science Fiction
April 1st, 1942: Samuel Ray Delany Jr., born on April 1st, at Harlem Hospital, on Lenox Avenue, at 7:20 in the morning, to Samuel Ray Delany, Sr., and Margaret Cary Boyd, a court stenographer.
1948: The first play I was ever taken to see was 𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦'𝘴 𝘊𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘦𝘺, starring Ray Bolger, in 1948. My Aunt Virginia took me—I was five years old. The music was by Frank Loesser, the choreography was by George Balanchine. The plot turns on a transvestial jape (all in the name of good, respectably heterosexual love, but even at five, I could tell that's not what most of the audience was appreciating or enjoying.) I loved it. And I have always remembered the proud force with which Bolger—dressed as Charley's aunt Donna Alverez—delivered the line, "I'm from Brazil—where the nuts come from . . .?" almost as if he were bragging and daring anyone to say he didn't have the right to do it and enjoy it along with everyone in the theater.
1950: My next play was Peter Pan, with Jean Author in the title role. By now I was seven, and when she turned to the audience (not for a moment did I ever think of her as a boy, still less when did Mary Martin's manual Christmas performances on TV work. Only in the Disney cartoon with Bobby Driscol(?) voicing Peter Pan is the character believably male.) On the stage, however, when Arthur demanded of the audience, "Do you believe in fairies . . .?" even as I was deeply moved, I knew by then that the word had two meanings. Friends had already pointed out fairies on the street, and I knew they were real.
1945–1950: "As an April Fools child, one of the street jokes I regularly endured was: 'Your mother wanted a boy; your father wanted a girl—but they got you! April Fools!' Probably this contributed to making me firmly cisgender. A block up 7th Ave. at 2274 was another funeral home called Sterrett's; his son, Johnny, was another light-skinned black child whose birthday was also April 1st, but I never played with him because that would have meant crossing 133rd St., and that was something my father forbid." Delany attended Camp Hill and Dale, a black summer camp run by Sara Teasdale, for the month of July, a retired teacher.
His first year, he played The Cowardly Lion in a parents' day performance of The Wizard of Oz. In his second or third, he played Prince Charming in Sleeping Beauty.
His older cousin Dorothy Savoy had also attended the camp. A number of campers came from the Jack and Jill of America, a black social club that Delany's parents had joined on his and his sister's behalf when he was two- or three-years-old. Regularly, he and his sister attended Jack and Jill parties and dances, though most of this came through his mother's side of the family rather than his father's.
1945–1956: He attends Horace Mann School in New York & Vassar Summer Institute for Gifted Children in Poughkeepsie (four-years-old) for Kindergarten, about 10 miles away from Hopewell Junction, where the Delanys had their four-room summer house designed and "built" by Delany's father. At five-years-old, Delany transfers to the Dalton School, at 308 East 89th Street, between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue. He writes about his first day in The Motion of Light in Water.
1948—Age six: Lying between the beds in the front room of the second floor, while his grandmother, Sara, sat by the front window, he was rubbing himself absently on the rug when he had his first orgasm. It was incredibly powerful and it scared him to death. Had he made any noise . . . ? Or perhaps his grandmother had not heard his panting . . .? When he got his witts back and looked around, it seemed she hadn’t noticed, there where she crocheted across the room.
Unsure whether it was weeks or months later, he was lying on a pile of clothes, somewhere in the house, and was looking at a book and rubbing in the same way. His mother found him and must have realized what he was doing. She stopped him, and told him to go wash my face with cold water—and he would feel better.
He stopped, and got up—but he didn’t either wash or do anything else. But he resolved to do this only in his own bed when no one was around.
1949[?] Around this time his Aunt Laura and Uncle Ed, with his slightly older cousins Edward, Nanny, and younger cousin Bill [the same age as his sister], moved out of the third floor and up to the Bronx at 335(?) Fish Avenue. Uncle Ed was a quiet man, a parole officer, who had done some studying in Germany. Aunt Laura was a teacher. Their family seemed far more pacific than his.
Another family took over the third floor. Finally a Mr. Vaughan (one syllable), and his daughter, Miss Vaughan, took it over. (Samuel Sr. owned the building and the land it occupied.) They were only there a short time, but they were friendly. Soon the Vaughans moved out, and the Delanys took over the third floor. The upstairs kitchen became a storage room. Unlike the second floor, the bathroom was somehow at the end of a hallway, at the back of the house. His parents had the large back bedroom, Chip had the small front bedroom, and his sister the larger of the two front bedrooms.
“I never had any direct sex education. My mother did buy a book for me, which eventually I remember reading. It had minimal illustrations and a blue cover. At one point, I read a passage explaining that babies came about when a man and a woman lay 'side by side, facing one another'; then somehow “the man’s penis enters the woman’s vagina” and the result is the woman gets pregnant. There was no mention of hands or orgasms, pleasure, or anything else.
“We had two dogs. Butch first and then Dash: the first was a furry black terrier, and the second was a sleek smaller creature. I never got to walk either of them. Dash however would come up to my room on the third floor and, on my bed, he would lick my mouth and I would lick back, while I masturbated him. He very much seemed to enjoy it: so did I.
"Eventually, he was replaced by a cat—with whom I had no sexual play at all. Years later, before my singing group Heavenly Breakfast got well underway, my friend Steve Greenbaum (eventually Steve Weizmann: his father’s name) told me he’d had a similar relationship with a dog. Also, at one point, he went to bed with me and set an alarm clock so that he would overstay (this was after I got back from Europe—and later he apologized profusely for the lack of sensitivity. I really hadn’t minded, though. Basically, I liked the sense of safety with men and the affection—which was never quite there with women. You can find references to this time in 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘔𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘓𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘞𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳.”
1950—A new grocery store owner moved into Pete’s, a butcher & grocery on the south-east corner of 133rd St. and 7th Ave. Eight-year-old Delany hand-delivered a note accusing the new owner of killing Pete: "You killed Pete." When this got back to my parents by dinner-time, I was told that I had been sending threatening letters, and it was a very bad thing to do.
c. 1951: Around this time discovers, at Dalton School, and at Camp Woodland, that his primary sexual orientation is homosexual; at Woodland on the first day, he gives himself the nickname Chip, which endures to his day.
“At the same time, I managed to acquire a neighborhood girlfriend, Laura Hunt, known on the block as Chee-chee. She had three older brothers, Winifred, whom without ever being told, I knew was gay, and a younger sister named Michelle. Among my earliest sexual experiences, I remember making out with Chee-chee and my sister Peggy on the bed in my parents' bedroom, and I remember Chee-chee’s mother, who was very fat, fixing me some milk with vanilla in it, and, without any sugar, which I probably had in it before, finding it too bitter. Chee-chee’s apartment was small, cramped, and dark—ours was, by comparison, roomy and light—though my mother felt it was the neighborhood itself that made the place so dirty. Eventually, I started a singing group, with David Litwin, Ana Parez, Laura Hunt, and myself (and for a while Judith Leiberman, who then played the flute and went on to Radcliffe and also played the electric violin, but never for us), and which was the first of my singing groups, when I felt that there was as much chance of my becoming a singer as a writer.
“Chee-chee remained a telephone friend of mine and my sister’s well into the middle 1980s. I remember getting a call at UMass, Amherst from her, once, during which she explained that her daughters was now at Amherst College, one of the Five-Colleges the were roped together, and he young, why daughter indeed came to my office, as I had invited her, to say hello. I wish I could remember the daughter's name—whether her mother was still Laura Hunt, or what. (David Litwin tells me he remembers having a crush on Laura when she was a member of the group—which I was totally unaware of.)
“Regularly—once a year—Laura would call me and my sister for a long catch up talk: then, as so often happens, the calls stopped.”
c. 1951(?) Delany had his single fight at Dalton with Arthur Pearson on the roof of the Dalton school. At this time, he read Cocteau's one-act play, The Infernal Machine, and recognized the story of Oedipus as its underlying source. At the same time, very soon he began to read widely in the Best Plays of the Year anthologies, edited by Louis Kronenberger, who happened to be the father of his school friend, Johnny Kronenberger.
“When I was eight, nine, or possibly even ten, my mother took me to meet my new tutor, a woman named Amanda Kemp. (She was not the first. There was a Mrs. McDougal at Dalton, whom I liked; as well there was a light-skinned guy who came a couple of times to the house, and taught me in the upstairs nursery, with skylight—the same room that Bill Anderson took the picture of me and my sister, that you can see us holding in as you scroll down the “biography” section on my website.) Miss Kemp, however, was a retired teacher who lived in a small, dark apartment—not unlike the hunts—on Edgecombe Avenue. When I got there, I remember saying that it smelled like gas, and Miss Kempe went to check the knobs on her ancient stove—the one like the one in our upstairs kitchen—and came back to tell us that, no, she didn’t think any gas had been leaking. (But when we were leaving, I remember my mother telling me that she too thought there’d been gas leaking, and once she tightened the knobs, it went away.) I went to Miss Kemp’s weakly for quite a while—or quite a while for someone my age.
I remember we did exercises, and she told me she had worked with Countee Cullen, and when our three or four months together were over, she gave me a signed copy of his book of children’s tales, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘡𝘰𝘰 . The illustrations were strange, and I don’t remember any of the tales, but the book itself and its feel and its heft are there in my memory. I wish I still had it.
Later, my mother told me, “She said we should read to you. And I must have read to you till my tongue was hanging out.”
Odd, other than mother goose tales, and perhaps a few fairly tales, I don’t remember my mother reading to me except perhaps some of the Barnabee Book we had in the country, and a couple of oversized books with “Little Black Sambo” in it and Maybe Dumbo and Dr. Suez’s 𝘉𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘸 𝘊𝘶𝘣𝘣𝘪𝘯𝘴—thought I do recall my dad’s reading of 𝘏𝘶𝘤𝘬𝘭𝘦𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘍𝘪𝘯𝘯 (one of my very few pleasant memories of him), but I do recall I was tested a lot as a child, and I quickly learned I was a very bad speller. At twenty-one, I learned the word “dyslexic” which, not so much for reading, but rather the version today called “dysgraphia” was what I had.
“As well, today I know, at least from my own experience, it gets worse and worse . . . which I confess seems, at least for a writer, something of a very bad joke on the part of the gods Fortuna and Hermes. (Probably that’s why I’m an atheist.)”
c. 1952: His father reads Delany all of 𝘏𝘶𝘤𝘬𝘭𝘦𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘍𝘪𝘯𝘯, two or three chapters an evening while Delany is in bed, during the late summer. This is one of the few positive memories he has of his father.
Delany did not pass the entrance exam for The Bronx High School of Science. His father spoke to his Uncle Hubert, who was acquainted with the principal, Dr. Morris Meister, who moved Delany to the top of the waiting list. Since he had passed the test to the Brooklyn Polytechnic High School, Delany argued with father since he wanted to go to the place he had honestly been accepted at. His father had already spoken to his uncle, however, and refused to renege on the offer. Thus Delany and his mother went up to the Bronx High School of Science on Orientation Day. There he first noticed Chuck Abrahamson, who would end up in his Freshman homeroom and become a life-long friend.
Another student from Dalton, who had introduced Chip to the music of Tom Lehrer, Michael Held, also went to the Bronx High School of Science that year.
September 1956: Delany began as a student at the Bronx High School of Science in a building known as the "Bronx High School of Science Annex." It was shared with an elementary school, containing all the incoming freshman and sophomores, including Marilyn Hacker.
That summer, he spends his last year at Camp Woodland's work camp in Phoenecia, NY, a small town not far from Woodstock. The campgrounds were across a small stream called the Esopus Creek. The Simpson ski slope was on one side; across a small bridge and a highway was the road up to the campsite—the work camp first on the right, then the junior camp, and then middle camp past the main house, the library, and the social/dining hall, with the road taking a sharp right turn and on to the girls' bunks for senior camp, a small barn called Brooklyn College, a small rise called the Knoll, and into the boys' senior camp tent colony, which also had a board-walled bathroom and shower-house.
On his return from camp, Delany and his sister Peggy now move from 2250 7th Ave. to 80 LaSalle St. into a co-op development of six buildings called Morningside Gardens. They live in apartment 4F. Other school friends in that first year include Stokely Carmichael, Gene Dennis from Woodland, and Daniel Auerbach. (Chuck, Danny, and Chip form a close trio of friends.) Sheldon Brivic, whom Chip would eventually befriend at Temple University, was also in Chip's freshman class.
September 1957: Delany and Hacker transferred to the main building of the Bronx High School of Science. His older cousin Nanny Murrell graduated the previous year, but occasionally he meets her younger brother Edward in the top-floor dining space, who is now a senior. In his first days in the main building, he meets Sheldon Novick, a camper from Woodland. Murray Wasserman is the first high school student with whom Chip discusses his own homosexuality. At this point, on weekends, Chip is going down to the Village to play his guitar in Washington Square and starts to think of the neighborhood, with its bookstores and coffee shops, as part of his life. For the summer of 1958, he is chosen to attend Camp Rising Sun, in Rhinebeck, New York, an international scholarship camp for boys. As interesting as the campers are, Delany is not impressed with the camp's philosophy or its relationship or its neighbors, which is what made Woodland such a positive experience.
1958: Hacker has now gone on to NYU as an early admission student from Bronx Science at the end of her junior year. She is 15 and has won a four-year scholarship to the school. At Science, Delany has just turned 16 and has entered the "new building," receiving a four-year scholarship to NYU as the winner of that year's NYU Prose Writers contest. Marilyn is not happy with NYU, however. As a result, Delany turns down his scholarship to go instead to CCNY (not yet SUNY). Meanwhile in her French class, Marilyn has met a young painter and sculptor, David Logan, who urges Delany to meet Bernard K. Kay (and his wife Iva), who lives at 845 West End Ave. in a second-floor apartment. Bernie—Bunny to his contemporaries—is a psychologist, actor, theater director, writer, and musician, who has recently moved there from an apartment on Gramercy Park South and boasted a list of theatrical friends including Marlon Brando and Elayne Stritch, Jose Fahrar, and Uta Haggan, Larry Fuller (Bernie had played Cassio with Haggan and Fahrar in the second cast of the famous Paul Robeson production of 𝘖𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘰 at the old Metropolitan Opera House at 47th St. and Broadway), Earle Hyman.
When Delany gets back from Camp Rising Sun, for the first summer, the Delany family does not have its annual barbecue, though they take a young Puerto Rican friend of Delany's named Louis up to Hopewell Junction. (Here, Delany realizes his father likes Louis more than he likes Chip.) Delany's father first suspected to have a “lung disease.” Delany is regularly seeing a psychologist during this time named Dr. Harold Esterson. That Autumn, Delany goes to see Bergman’s 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘩 𝘚𝘦𝘢𝘭 with his father at the Thalia Theater. Delany enjoys it; his father dislikes it, finding it bewildering. It drives a wedge between father and son, which only grows broader. An exploratory operation discovers lung cancer. One lung is removed. Delany senior does not want to know the results. But his mother and son do, and it makes life very difficult for them. Delany is very active among the teenagers both in Morningside Gardens and in the General Grant community center on the other side of Amsterdam Ave, where he taught a remedial reading class and choreographed a dance for the center's theater group.
July 1960: Margaret Marshall—editor at Harcourt Brace and friend of Marie Ponsot—procures Chip Delany a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers conference that summer, where he works as a waiter, meets Robert Frost, John Ciardi, and Gloria Oden, as well X. J. Kennedy, Mr. and Mrs. William Sloan. He is assigned a room in the waiters' cabin with another black writer, Herbert Woodward Martin. (Later, he will write about the workshop as an example of "networking" that did not lead to publication in his 1999 essay Times Square Red / Times Square Blue [§3.21].) After the first day’s novel workshop, run by William Sloan of William Sloan associates, Delany becomes something of a star. Sloan had chosen Delany’s “Those Spared by Fire” to read from on the first day, as the only one of the novel entries “that had something to interest me as an editor.” It was a sequence where a white adolescent, Paul Bherens, plays the drums at a community center like a black man.
Delany rides home sitting in the bus in the back seat with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Advise and Consent. At that point, Delany had no notion that the author was, like himself, gay.
When he arrives home, his father gets up from his sick-bed in his blue pajamas and Chip regales his mother and father with stories about the summer, till in the middle and goes into the back to get back in bed, and he realizes how sick his father is.
October 6th, 1960: Samuel Ray Delany Sr. dies at Harlem Hospital c. 4 o’clock in the afternoon, of lung cancer. He has been ill for a year and a half. "My sister and I had been to see him earlier that afternoon." See the account in The Motion of Light in Water ("Sentences: An Introduction").
Sept 1960-June 1961: attends City College in New York. At the end of the year, he drops out and cuts all his final exams.
At his mother’s request, Delany moves out of 80 LaSalle St. to stay with Bob Aaronberg, at the St. Marks Arms, a student rooming house on West 113 St., just off Amsterdam. That’s where he had an affair with a man down the hall, and actually goes to bed with Marilyn Hacker for the first time—his first completed sexual act with a woman. (Hacker has had several sexual encounters before with Victor Arwas [an English grad student from NYU], a married Puerto Rican grad student name Christopher (with a wife named Barbara), both of whom visit Delany and Hacker once they are married and living at 629 East 5th St.
August 21(?), 1961: married Marilyn Hacker, in Detroit, Michigan. They take the Greyhound Bus to Detroit, wander over the bridge to Winsor Canada, and then return home. They stay in separate Y’s.
Back in NY, first job is as a cashier on Broadway just below 86th St., at a small barbecue chicken spot on the East side of the street. David Litwin had recommended for the job but he shortly lost it because he could not make change fast enough.
Delany’s next job was as a clerk at Barnes & Noble, for the September textbook rush, where he spent only a day on the cash registers and began working in the storage room, bringing books to the front. At that, he did pretty well, and with John Hetland, Rose Marion, and Susan Sholley, he was kept on after the rush was over. All three had a part in Delany and Hacker’s later life.
1962: His first published novel The Jewels of Aptor was accepted in April. Copies appear in November. He is living at 629 on the dead-end of East 5th on New York’s Lower East Side. Official publication date December ’62.
"On Monday nights, for several years, Marilyn and I would walk across the Williamsburg Bridge to visit Dick and Alice Entin. Dick was a 35-year-old playwright when we met him and, during that whole time, was working on a single play called 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘺𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘵. Each week Dick would write anywhere from three to 12 lines of the play, and Alice would dissect it endlessly. During this time, I completed The Jewels of Aptor, which he eventually read, and said, not that he liked it, but that there were some passages in it that were “surprisingly beautiful.” We would talk for a couple of hours, Alice (who was our age) would cook shrimp and rice [dinner was almost always the same] and make a salad, and we would eat and talk about literature. Friday nights, we would go up to Marilyn’s mother’s in the Bronx for dinner. Often these visits were as painful as the ones out to Brooklyn, over the Williamsburg Bridge, in the shadow of the Jehovah's Witnesses tower, were fun. Indeed, we were still going to meet them when I completed Nova in 1967. Between months and a year later, Dick gave me the manuscript of a play called Left, Right, which Dick himself had not thought much of but which seemed to Delany to be as good or better than The Tyrant."
1963: Moved from 629 E. 6th St. to 739 E. 7th St.
October, third week, 1964: Entered Mt. Sinai for two weeks, which was extended for a third week because for their Day/Night Program, by the end of two weeks, he was still hearing voices in other rooms. (His nights are spent at home on 7th St.)
November 1964: Met Bobby Folsom at Bernard Kay’s. "Bob came to dinner and moved in with us that night." See The Motion of Light in Water for details and Hacker's 10-part series, "The Navigators." By that time, Delany and Hacker had moved to their second Lower East Side apartment at 739 E. 7th St.
October 18, 1965: left for Luxembourg with Ron Helstrom and picked up Bill Balousiac, a young Canadian, on the plane.
April 15th, 1966: returned to New York, and took up residence again at 739 East 7th Street. A month to six weeks later, Hacker moved to a new apartment on Hudson St., downstairs, in the same building as painter William McNeill.
December 20, 1966. app. to January 10, 1967, app.: Delany returned to London, where he stayed with John and Majorie Brunner at their Hampstead home.
1967: Wins his first Nebula Award, for Babel-17 back in New York.
February 10th, contracts signed for Nova; Nebula Award is April 25th, and the book is complete that may.
1967–68: He is a member of the rock group and urban commune Heavenly Breakfast, which is chronicled in his autobiographical work Heavenly Breakfast: An Essay on the Winter of Love.
1968—wins his second and third Nebula Award for The Einstein Intersection and the short story “Aye, and Gomorrah.” The award is presented at Del Pezzo restaurant on West 47th St. (On the same street as the Blue Ribbon Bar.) Among the attendees that night, Delany came with Marilyn, his mother, sister, and a young albino friend in a black denim suit, Whit Whitman, whom Delany has gone to bed with once. Basically he is a friend of Marilyn’s. Other attendees at the banquet included Damon Knight, Jack Gaughan, Terry Carr, Barry Malzberg, James Sallis, Isaac Asimov, and Virginia Kidd. Fred Pohl gave an after-dinner speech berating the New Wave, which seemed to single-out Delany. Robert Silverberg was Toastmaster. Delany recounts one incident in the very complex evening in his essay “Racism and Science Fiction.”
December 29th, he flies to San Francisco, and begins a round of New Years Eve parties, with Marilyn and Paul Caruso, who have inherited Nemi Frost’s old floor-through on the second floor of 1067 Natoma St., just off the junction of Market and Van Ness.
1969—Wins his fourth Nebula Award for the long story “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” with Harlan Elison and Ursula Le Guin at a Berkeley Hotel.
1969-1971—With Marilyn Hacker publishes the journal Quark, out of San Francisco. Gets deeply into his correspondence with Joanna Russ.
1972--Visiting writer at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Humanities, run by Igor Gourevitch.
In New York, at a brunch at painter William McNeil’s, Barbara Wise invites him to make a film that she will produce and which her young son, David Wise, will act as camera man. Delany now is living at the Albert Hotel, and he edits the film on an old “chatter-box” editor in his hotel room.
Shortly after the film is completed, Marilyn Hacker phones from London to invite him to have a child. On Christmas Eve, 1973, he flies to London and comes home to his new flat in 21 Paddington St., over an Indian restaurant, and beside Paddington Park, an old London graveyard. The first encounter with John Sims and Marilyn
for dinner does not go well, but soon things settle down.
Jan 14, 1974—Daughter Iva Alyxander Hacker-Delany is born in London at Queen Charlotte’s Maternity Hospital in Hammersmith.
In London, dinners over the two years include Ann Lauterbach, Ted Berrigan and (the highly pregnant) Alice Knotley, Michael and Hillary Moorcock, and John and Margorie Brunner, and Landry Family, David Landry and his two wives, Liz and Judith, as well as John Heathcoat Williams and Diana Senior. (Their daughter, China, is one of the dedicatees of Hacker’s first book, Presentation Piece, the title for which had been suggested by Russell FitzGerald.)
1975—At the invitation of the famed literary critic Leslie Fiedler, he takes his first (visiting) academic position as Visiting Butler Chair Professor of English, at SUNY Buffalo.
In New York, Presentation Piece wins the National Book Award for that year. (Viking forgets to include Marilyn in the quarter page congratulatory advent; and then, when—after a letter from Delany, pointing this out to them—runs a much smaller add congratulating “Marilyn Hacker” but fails to state the title of the book for which she won. At the award ceremony proper, at the New York State Theater, in her acceptance speech, Marilyn called the place “Alice Tully Hall.” The Lincoln Center complex was very young at that point and no one had really gotten used to it.) Chip takes Iva back to SUNY Buffalo, on the plane—and Marilyn has failed to put a bottle in with Iva’s stuff: Iva cries in hunger the whole flight.
At the second floor of the motel where he is staying, with Iva, while Marilyn continues a reading tour, Ted Berrigan comes to give a reading. Chip and Ted sit up the night, while Iva sleeps in the bathtub on a large heap of blankets, talking about the feelings of the St. Marks school about Women Poets.
Ted explains that most of them just feel that because Marilyn has won her major award and writes the way she does, she would not be interested in most of them. He goes on to explain that the reason why Ann Waldman was not in the ALL STARS anthology was because they felt that Louis as a poet was nowhere as good as Ann was, and since they didn’t want to include him, they didn’t include Ann so he wouldn’t feel bad. This, by the way, was the identical logic I has seen used against Marilyn when she had to share an office with Ed Book back at Ace: You can’t promote the woman over the man because the man will feel bad. (When Marilyn was first invited to the editorial conferences because of her proposed publishing plan for public domain classics, Book was invited too, though he had done nothing, so that he wouldn’t feel bad—and they weren’t even married. They just shared an office!)
1977: Senior fellow at the Center for Twentieth-Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin; publishes his first critical book, The Jewel-Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction. Meets Frank Romeo on a rainy day at the Variety Photoplays theater, when Iva is around three.
1978: Writer in residence at SUNY-Albany.
1980: Is divorced from Marilyn Hacker after being separated since 1975.
1983: Delany goes to see Ethyl Eichelberger's play, Ruth Ruth, possibly at the Theater for the New City, with Eichelberger playing one Ruth Ruth and Agosto Machado playing the other. Others in the cast included Harvey Perr, John D. Brockmeyer, Steven Burkick, Jack Mallory, Ivan Smith, and his friend Barbara Wise as Lamby-Pie. An "ovary-ture" was listed on the program as by Evan Lurie.
1985: Honored with the Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association for lifetime achievement in science-fiction scholarship.
1987: Senior fellow at Cornell University's Society for the Humanities.
1988: Takes his first tenured academic position as professor of comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
1989: Wins his second Hugo Award for his autobiography The Motion of Light in Water, is included by Lambda Book Report among its "Fifty Men and Women Who Have Done Most to Change Our Attitudes Toward Gayness in the Last Hundred Years," wins the lifetime achievement award from the Dark Room, the black students’ collective at Harvard University.
1991: Begins living with a previously homeless street vendor Dennis Rickett; their relationship (which endures to this day) is the subject of the autobiographical graphic novel Bread & Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York (drawings by Mia Wolff).
1993: Receives the William Whitehead Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in gay and lesbian writing.
1993-2007 Takes visiting academic positions at the University of Michigan's Humanities Center, the University of Kansas, the University of Idaho, the University of Minnesota, the Honors College of Michigan State University, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Naropa Institute Summer Writing Program at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.
March 2nd, 1995: Margaret Delany dies. She is in a hospital in Queens, where she’s been transferred from Park Shore Manor Nursing Home, where she has been for eight years. Delany is at Brown University at the home of Robert Scholes. His sister calls him the next morning to tell him. He cries briefly as he tells Mrs. Scholes that his mother has died. She gives him a hug.
July 27th-30th, 1995: San Diego Comic Con. Delany is there with Mia Wolff, promoting Bread & Wine.
August 24th-28, 1995: Is guest of honor at the World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, Scotland. (At the convention, John Brunner died—on the afternoon of the 25th of August.)
1997: Honored with the Kessler Award from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York.
1998: Leaves the University of Massachusetts for a tenured professorship in the Poetics Program of the English Department at SUNY-Buffalo.
2000: Leaves Buffalo to take his current academic position as a professor of English and creative writing at Temple University in Philadelphia.
2000: 1984: Selected Letters appears from Voyant Press, with an introduction by Kenneth R. James.
2000: At Yaddo for three weeks that fall he meets Ned Rorum, Steven Watson, David Del Tredice, and Maggy Penley and well Kenny Fries. He stays in the Trask mansion, which inspires his vision of the Kyle Mansion, that figures in Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders (2012).
January, 2001: Began teaching at Temple as a professor of English and creative writing.
2002: Inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
2005: Lambda Pioneer Award
January 8, 2010 Mog Decarnin (b. 1948) dies.
July 22nd-25th, 2010: San Diego Comic Con.
November 17, 2010: Fiction judge for that year’s National Book Awards. The voting was done that afternoon at Boule, and the award was that night at Cipriani Wall Street. There’s a picture on Delany’s website.
February 16. 2011: Finishes one of several versions of his Paris Review #197 interview with Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah in New York and Philadelphia.
September, 2011: Peggy Delany retired as executive secretary at the Shubert Organization. There was a lunch and party in her honor at Sardi’s Restaurant. The entire staff of the Shubert Organization came out in her honor. Delany went with his partner, Dennis Rickett.
APRIL 20, 2012: University of Maryland, Delany-at-70 Conference at the University of Maryland, for three days., on the appearance of THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE NEST OF SPIDERS.
October 17th, 2012 at 5:00pm: First of two Brudner Prize lectures delivered at Yale to an audience of undergraduates, graduates, faculty after an introduction by Professor GerShun Alvilez. He presented it in Sudler Hall (2nd Floor). The Brudner Prize is conferred by the Yale LGBT Studies Committee.
October 18th, 2012: This was the second of my two Brudner Prize Lectures, which I delivered in New York City, October 18th, 2012, at 7:00 p.m., at Club Quarters Midtown, 40 West 45th Street, after a 6:00 p.m. reception, to a gathering largely of Yale Alumni and friends, after Introductions by Professor George Chauncey and Professor GerShun Alvilez.
2013: Delany was named the 31st Damon Knight Memorial Foundation Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, with four other award-winners, one of whom, Nalo Hopkinson, was once his student.
April 15th, 2015: Retired from Temple University as a Professor Emeritus.
September 10, 2015: Moved to Wynnewood, PA from 184 W. 82nd St., New York, NY.
Summer 2016: Kicked out of Wynnewood, PA. Lost 4/5ths of library. Moved to 1123 Spruce St. Dennis joins him a week later.
November 2016: Bill Wood began working with Delany at 1123 Spruce St., Philadelphia.
January 2017:  begins his reign.
September 2017: Moved to 2601 Pennsylvania Ave., Apt. 402
July 2018: Publishes Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders in a self-published edition in an ebook and two-volume paperback.
May 17–19, 2019: Delanymania film festival at The Metrograph in New York, where Delany was present, along with Bill and Fred Barney Taylor. Three Delany films were shown, FBT’s Polymath, as well as This Island Earth and The Boy with Green Hair.
March 2020: COVID-19
June 16, 2020: Published Shoat Rumblin on Amazon.
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