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Maxwell Bodenheim
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Author
    (May 26, 1892-February 6, 1954)
    Born in Hermanville, Mississippi
    Birth name was Maxwell Bodenheimer
    Novelist and poet
    Wrote the novels 'Blackguard' (1923), 'Replenishing Jessica' (1925), 'Ninth Avenue' (1926), 'Georgia May' (1927), 'Naked on Roller Skates' (1930) and 'A Virtuous Girl' (1930)
    Poetry collections include 'Minna and Myself' (1918), 'Advice' (1920), 'Against This Age' (1923), 'The King of Spain' (1928) and 'Bringing Jazz!' (1930)
    Known as the King of the Greenwich Village Bohemians
    He was dishonorably discharged from the Army for going AWOL.
    One biographer noted that his 'haughty, insulting demeanor, and his habit of trying to steal other men’s women right under their noses, got him regularly socked on the jaw and thrown out of bars.'
    He would show up at parties with a burlap sack into which he would shove as many appetizers as he could before being ejected.
    While a guest at Ben Hecht's house, he looted Hecht's closets of clothing.
    He was ejected from the Academy of American Poets for relieving himself in front of the assembled poets.
    He woke up from a two-day alcoholic coma with the comment, 'I must have had a drop too much.'
    After his Jazz Age heyday, he supported himself by selling poems for change or drinks and by panhandling (often carrying a sign claiming 'I am blind' to improve his take).
    He was arrested multiple times for vagrancy.
    In a famous stunt, he and Hecht held a public debate, 'Resolved: That People Who Attend Literary Debates Are Imbiciles.' Hecht, after studying the crowd that arrived, declared 'The affirmative rests.' Bodenheim scrutinized the crowd as carefully, then replied 'You win.'
    The New York Herald called him 'the Rimbaud of the arts, a remarkable and gifted poet.'
    His novel 'Replenishing Jessica' became a best-seller after an unsuccessful attempt by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice to have it banned as obscene.
    He said, 'Poetry is the impish attempt to paint the color of the wind.'
    He and his wife were murdered by a mentally unbalanced dishwasher who they had befriended and at whose apartment they crashed for a night.

Credit: C. Fishel


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