Ulf Goebel

Ulf Goebel is a writer who has most recently published Fugitive Causes: Poems, Stories, and Other Matters (2006) and taught German as an adjunct at Butler University, where he is now teaching English.

He was born in Bremen, Germany in 1935 and spent the war years in a small town just northeast of Dresden where he witnessed the firebombing of the city on February 13 and 15, 1945. He attended the humanistic Altes Gymnasium in Bremen, 1945-1949, and emigrated with his mother and four younger brothers to the United States in 1949. He spent the fifties in the U.S. Marines and was stationed for a time in Korea. On being discharged in 1958 he entered Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, graduated in 1961, and went on through graduate school in international relations and political philosophy. He became a university fellow, passed his Ph.D. comprehensives "with distinction," was elected to the Gold Key Society (later Phi Beta Kappa), and in 1964 took his first teaching job in political science at the University of Portland, Oregon. In 1966 he moved with
his wife and three small children to Cleveland, Ohio, where he taught political science at John Carroll University until 1969. Together with students and friends he joined SDS and took part in
anti-war and civil right demonstrations like the march on the Pentagon in October of 1967 and SCLC's Resurrection City on the Mall in Washington, D.C. in 1968. At the same time he was
seriously pursuing photography and won first prize with a female nude in the 1968 John Carroll arts competition. He was also writing seriously, making the rounds of open poetry readings, and
participating in happenings. By the time the sixties were over he had changed course in both career and life. He dropped his all but finished Ph.D. dissertation on Sartre, quit the university, and began
working as a newspaper reporter, writing freelance on the side, even ghosting a novel for a prominent black woman in Cleveland. In quick succession, between 1969 and 1972, he worked for
The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Columbus Citizen Journal, and The Cleveland Call & Post. When SDS collapsed, some of his friends went into the Weathermen and then underground. He wrote about them but did not join them. Divorced, he married the dancer Susan McGuire and moved with her to New York City in 1973, where he drove a taxi at night for some ten years while writing during the day, at first novels, then increasingly shorter prose works and poetry. His short stories and poems appeared over the years in little magazines like The Agni Review, The Alchemist, Ascent, Aspect, Big Moon, Bitterroot, Bogg (U.K.), Buckle, Cat’s Eye, Center, Cumberland Poetry Review, Free Lance, Grub Street, Hanging Loose, The Helen Review, Huron Review (Canada), Hyperion, Junction, Kansas Quarterly, Mati, Mississippi Review, Neue Deutsche Literatur (Germany), New Voices, The Pale Fire Review, Panache, Paunch, Pequod, Phoebe, Pulp, Riversedge, The Shirt Off Your Back (T-shirt), Stand Magazine (U.K.), Staple (U.K.), Tales, Velvet Wings, and Webster Review. Three chapbooks also saw print, among them After Caligula (1981), a long poem built of fragments (revised and reprinted in Fugitive Causes). In addition, in 1974 he published a nonfiction novel, Sgt. Ed Arthur's Nam, the story a helicopter gunner's tour in Vietnam, based on extensive interviews conducted by him while working as a reporter in Columbus, Ohio. In 1977 he founded Clyde Repertory Company (theater of poetry) and directed it until 1980, when it folded. In 1983 he got a job as a clerk at the Gotham Book Mart, Frances Steloff's famed literary bookstore on Diamond Row in midtown Manhattan. From 1984 to 1986 he taught English as an adjunct at New York City Technical College (CUNY) in Brooklyn and at Montclair State College in New Jersey. After working briefly as a bicycle messenger and a secretary at a Madison Avenue advertising agency between 1986 and 1988, he moved to Berlin, where he worked for a time at Hans.