Belief in Chaos
Joel Climenhaga, signed by author
Joel Climenhaga was born on 4/9/22 in Bulawayo, So. Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), of missionary parents, living there until ’29. As a boy he lived in Canada, Oklahoma and California, moving to Pennsylvania when in high school. He dropped out of college after three semesters, going to work as a proofreader for a newspaper in Pottstown, PA. At the same time, he also wrote a gossip column for a local pictorial magazine. He moved back to California in ’42, where he worked as a laborer in a lemon packinghouse and as a warehouseman in steel mills, as well as working for two newspapers. He served in the Army in WWII, being discharged in ’46. After being out of school for over seven years, he resumed formal education under the GI Bill at Chaffey College, in Southern CA, later earning degrees in Theater Arts (BA ’53, MA ’58) at UCLA. He took additional graduate work at Stanford, Kansas State, the University of Kansas and International College. He married Zoe Lenore Motter in ’55. They are parents of a son (Neal) and three daughters (Anna, Greta and Miriam). WWhen first married, he taught high school in Pennsylvania, as well as being a technical writer for Douglas Aircraft Company in California. Also, he was a free-lance screenwriter in Hollywood. He became a college teacher in ’58 at Wilmington College, where he was Director of Creative Writing. He also taught at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, at Culver-Stockton and at Kansas State, where he remained for 19 years. After “retiring” from Kansas State in ’87, he taught for another five years – at Tarkio College, then at Teikyo Westmar University, Iowa. In ’61 he originated TRANSIENT PRESS, when he published the first issue of Seed, a poetry magazine, under its imprint. During the greater part of the ’60’s, other magazines (Jacaranda, Ferment, Rananim and Open Letter) were published through TRANSIENT. Later, during the ’70’s and ’80’s, other ephemeral poetry magazines and literary journals were published irregularly under his editorship through TRANSIENT; these included Awakening, The Back Shelf Dispatch, Below Ground Level, Counsel for the Offense, Foundation, Greenage, Inner Dimension, Jonah’s Gourd, Lighthouse in the Coming Storm, Noah, Only Two Believers, Qua Qua, Rock Drill, Scop, Stone Cottage, This Time, White Lion and Zymosis. He dates his beginnings as a writer from when he was 15, at which time he wrote a series of short stories and some poems based on memories of his African childhood. Since then he’s written in all forms, believing there are no boundaries on creativity. As a playwright, he has written 19 plays – of which 17 have been produced (there have been a combined total of more than 150 productions of his plays). Also, he has given numerous readings of his poetry. Active as a theatre artist for over 50 years, he’s directed 136 productions (of which 63 were productions of new plays) and also has acted in 53 productions. From ’81 to ’87, he had a weekly radio program, One Man’s Journey, which was broadcast over Radio Station KSAC, which later became Radio Station KKSU, Kansas State University, an NPR affiliate. He thinks of himself as a transcendentalist. Nevertheless, he believes that the human species is on a collision course with tragedy and if it is to survive there must be a world-wide effort made concerning over-population, as well as a cross-cultural rejection of nationalistic jingoism and religious intolerance, so that we may realize we are all citizens of one planet.