It's A Wonderful Life

THAT MEETING currently forms the basis of an elaborate series of stories that Haviaras works on "obsessively" these days.

"It's a formal fantasy." Haviaras says, adding. "I don't know if it will recapitulate your average American male fantasy, but the idea surrounding her has promoted a tremendous flow of creative energy and I don't want to interrupt or try to understand it." Haviaras says he thinks it will be very good, and he may attempt to publish it someday.

The party also included an unsual encounter with the late publishing magnate, Max Shuster.

"It was over a drink, and my English was barely understandable." Evidently this was inconsequental for Shuster was won over. Haviaras' natural enthusiasm for writing and art apparently charmed the older man, and he promised to publish his first novel, whenever Haviaras produced it.

"Exactly twenty years later I finish my book, Max Shuster is thoroughly dead, and the publishing house has become a division of Gulf and Western," Haviaras smiles. The loss of his friend did not daunt him, however, and "[Simon and Shuster] ended up publishing the book anyway," he says.


Watching 250 people pack Emerson Hall on a warm Thursday evening for the poetry reading he has organized, Haviaras feels a mixture of nervous excitement and dread--dread that there will not be enough room for the crods who have come to hear James Merrill and Seamus Heaney read.

Haviaras has returned to the arduous, sometimes glamorous task of organizer and curator, and this historic evening the Lamont poetry rooms have received a substantial collection of tapes from the Academy of American poets. After the reading he is all smiles; the persistent responsibilities of a newly released book, in addition to the more mundane details of his job, don't seem to slow him up a bit.

"Wonderful, Wonderful--didn't you think?" he asks, without needing an answer.