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The Portable Wall

December 4, 2017



My nephew Jon Angel and I are bringing back the good old PW from the obscurity of the 70s, 80s, 90s of the last millennium. Sure, we are “modern” and “digital” and all of that. Come to think of it, I’m not quite sure why we’re publishing another PW. Perhaps all of our friends aren’t on Facebook, or even communicate with computers and smartphones.

This is altogether better than a damned Christmas letter.

This can also serve as a recruitment for new submissions from old PW friends, although we have lost a good share of the original contributors. We lost Tom Struckman, Dana Graham, Hannah Graham, John Herman, Gordon Simard, Nathaniel Blumberg and others a bit more distant from our circle, but who nonetheless contributed materials. Some simply dropped from sight. Some of those lost were unseen benefactors, like Jim Oset and Printer Bowler.


Dirk Lee

Do you remember the original Portable Wall? In the summer of 1977 I took a journalism class at the University of Montana in Missoula taught by Wilbur Wood, titled “Poetry and Journalism.”

We wrote pieces and read them to each other. Wilbur required each of us do a project.

Mine was starting a magazine. All the while e.e. cummings’ poem “Let’s Start a Magazine.” Was buzzing in my head.   I had wanted to start a magazine since high school, so I was glad to have a chance to do so. I had a couple of models to imitate, mostly the one by Peter R. Koch, “Montana Gothic.”

Some of us got together to start the magazine: Mark Fryberger, Tom Struckman, Dana Graham, Dirk Lee. Thus issue one was born. At that time the magazine didn’t have a name. We decided whoever contributed the most toward publishing the first ish could name it. That was Dana, who named it “Portable Wall.” It was named after a wall in an apartment in Missoula. The apartment, in a house everyone called church house or main house, was on Main Street on the north side of the river. I have pictures of the decrepit place. Anyway, one wall attracted a lot of graffiti. One I remember was written by Scott Hendryx: “Life is what we do while waiting to die.” The rest of the wisdom was a bit more uplifting and hippie-oriented. That made it perfectly forgettable. I remember the other half of the apartment building had Bob Gesell and some other musicians. ###


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  1. Kate Galambos permalink

    Hi Dan and enduring “Wall-ers”! I received my copy of the latest Portable Wall in the mail yesterday. Wow! It’s great to see a resurrection of that venerable tome! Ha ha. Didn’t even know about Dan and Bob’s blogs, have bookmarked them now for continued review and updates. My own literary endeavors not too robust lately but this provides some impetus for further effort. Living through another cold Connecticut winter at the moment but remain involved in teaching, local politics, church, and etc. Perhaps will write an article for the Wall titled “How We Beat Costco”. Looking forward to continued contact with you all. Until then, #Resist!! — Love, Kate

  2. Peggy Lambert permalink

    Hi, my name is Peggy and I went to college with Jon. I actually drew one of the covers of the Portable Wall. I would love to connect with Jon. Does he have an email address you might share with me?


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