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By Elizabeth H. Oakes

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It was in his father’s candy story that Isaac was first introduced to science fiction magazines. At age eight, Isaac became a citizen of the United States. Isaac taught himself to read before he started school. Blessed with a near-photographic memory, Isaac excelled academically, which propelled him through school. At age 15, Isaac graduated from high school and went on to study at Columbia University. He earned his bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1939 and his master of arts degree in 1941.

Alexie, who developed an alcohol problem while in college, has told a story about giving up alcohol for good upon learning that Hanging Loose Press would publish The Business of Fancydancing. Several more titles followed in rapid succession, including The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993), his first book of short stories, which received a PEN/Hemingway Award for best first book of fiction and a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. Alexie also won the American Book Award for his novel Reservation Blues (1995), and his second novel, Indian Killer (1996), was named a New York Times Notable Book when it appeared in 1996.

By this time, he had become known as a member of the New York school, which included Koch and O’Hara. In the mid-1950s, Ashbery moved to Paris, where he lived for a decade, writing poems and art criticism for the New York Herald 23 Tribune and ARTnews and living with the French writer Pierre Martory. His second collection of poems, Some Trees (1956) was chosen by Auden to be included in the Yale Younger Poets series. When he returned to the United States in 1965, Ashbery continued to work as an art critic and he served on the editorial board ARTnews.

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