I first heard Gjertrud Schnackenberg's particular name uttered aloud in the one-room office of The Paris Review. During the late 1990s, I worked as an associate editor at the literary magazine and as assistant to its co-founder, the late George Plimpton. On most days, "work" was a generous term for what we did. We stumbled to the office after 10 in the morning and left before the evening's first party began. If there was tennis to play (however poorly), we closed shop even earlier.
Despite this atmosphere of youth and mirth, there were a small handful of things about which the editorial staff was deadly serious. Language, the rigor and talent to wield it, was tantamount. Only a short list of living artists merited highest praise.