Mad Hatters' Review

CAROL NOVACK – In Memoriam 1948 – 2011

Posted on December 30, 2011 by marc


(photo: Jeff Davis)

Our dear friend, Carol Novack, writer, poet, editor and luminary publisher of the alternative and edgy Mad Hatters' Review, MadHat Press and the MadHat Arts Foundation, passed away peacefully last night at 8.55 pm in the Elizabeth Hospice in Hendersonville (nr. Asheville ), North Carolina .

We shall miss you deeply old soul, old friend.

Mad Hatters' Issue 11 from 2009, featured one of Carol's own poems, “Comic Yellow Fragmentos.” It seems most appropriate to publish it again here.

Comic Yellow Fragmentos

Using my yellow tail
I yellow-swam to the Last Judgment
From the Yellow River
As a yeast of the yellow peril,
Vastly overweight
With skin the color of old gold.

In Venice and Stockholm,
People called me yellow Jack
Just for fun
Hailed me as a yellow dog
Yellow star of David sewn to my past:
When I yelped on my yellow legs,
Pale as whipped cream,
A cybernetic game figure
Made a house-call.

To flee from the yellow flu,
The serums, x-rays, and shots,
I go back to the river and in the Scottish Highlands,
Pass the dumplings in Prague
And the wild turkeys keep turkeying,
Speaking Yiddish Yerkishly like yellow warblers.

I yield at a yellow spot
Close to Yellowstone .

We've all gotta go
You know, so
Sanguine in a yellow sheet
When the rabbi sings the yellow alert,
Rings the emergency bell,
I'm in a shethl in Bohemia somewhere,
You in Atheny, no Nazis.

I have composed many yellow pages and purple prose,
Fragmentos to endure for decades:
Fifteen volumes for a yeasty yellow book
To be published by the yellow press.

Don't worry, I will yell low
Back on the river,
It's all free room
And board,
And the working woman was always
A good cook.

Just close your eyes
And go painlessly
Into dreamless yellow

In the coming weeks, we will be featuring tributes to Carol from many of her contemporaries, collaborators and closest friends. Please feel free to send us your queries or works for consideration to

Acting Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Marc Vincenz

and on behalf of Mad Hatters everywhere…


15 Responses to CAROL NOVACK – In Memoriam 1948 – 2011

•  Ginger Hamilton Caudill says:

December 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm

First, let me say “Oh my God! Now we must do math captchas?!?!?”

Next, I will attempt to write a memorial for Carol and send it in later. I am sorry she is gone.

Finally, I love the piece you posted. Perfect.


•  JP Reese says:

December 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Thank you for posting Carol's poem here, Marc. She was a true original, and we are all a bit less for her loss.


•  Greg says:

December 31, 2011 at 12:43 am

We miss you, dear Carol.

You had biggest heart.

Your door was always open and welcoming to friends and family.

Your whimsical apartment was always filled with fun and laughter and witty conversation.

You were an Intellectual and never shied away from a good debate nor did you back down from championing the rights of those less fortunate and those marginalized by the social structure.

You fervently prized Democratic ideals and had a genuine respect for humankind.

Above all, you are an Angel and your spirit and kindness endures in the lives of those you have touched.

We miss you very much, dear Carol.
Rest Peacefully….


•  Kate Juliff says:

December 31, 2011 at 4:23 am

I don't have a poem or words to say. But thinking of Carol. who died in 2011, as did my brother, here is my brother's poem.

beetroot to yourself
lettuce all get along
Bean so good getting to know you
Peas to you and all of your family.

Vale Carol


•  jason irwin says:

December 31, 2011 at 3:14 pm

very sorry to hear that.


•  Larry Strattner says:

December 31, 2011 at 8:14 pm

When I first became enamored with flash fiction Carol encouraged me on fictionaut. I remember her fondly. Not always of the same mind, I suspected we were of the same heart. I envied her focus and relentless pursuit of art. She will, no doubt, change for the better whatever realm she now occupies. I will miss her.


•  Robert Vaughan says:

December 31, 2011 at 9:31 pm


You are always with me, with us, your generous gifts far too precious to contain. No, these are to share, and I will turn to your work again, and again. And…again. For this, I can only give to you my own generous praise and words in return.

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•  Girija Tropp says:

January 1, 2012 at 12:17 am

She was a woman who lived her life and her life fully. I was going to say my only regret was that I did not touch base with her this year and then I realized that, on a whim, as I passed through NY in May 2011 on my way to Europe I said to my husband — that's where my friend Carol lives — I stayed with her when I first came to NY, maybe 6 years now — the year after she published my work in the Mad Hatter — she was an amazingly generous host — we walked all the way down 6th Ave from Greenwich Village to Central Park and dropped into MOMA on the way and my legs flagged in MOMA but hers didn't — we rang the bell and strangely she answered — she was always on her way somewhere — and when we walked in — I introduced my husband and looked at the boxes — she was leaving that day to go to Asheville.

I am sad I will not see her this year! I thought she would live forever — and she is — sitting and chatting to me right now, a glass of vodka in her hands, a cigarette, a new piece of writing she would like feedback on….


•  Tantra Bensko says:

January 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Thank you for this memorial. I've been amazed how much I've cried with love, so often, daily for the last couple weeks since learning about her illness. I knew Carol first through publishing my work in Mad Hatters, and as she asked me to be Art Director, for years working very closely with her doing that until my health wouldn't allow it any more, and then, as a friend afterwards. I got to spend time with her in person, which I'm glad for.

I began tuning into her, long distance, whether telepathy or imagination, during the process of her demise, and plan to keep talking to her as she continues on in what I think of as the afterlife (whether telepathy or imagination…..). I wonder if she will continue to snark. ;-)

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•  John Edwards says:

January 4, 2012 at 1:51 am

I met Carol only a few times in the late 70s, when she lived in Sydney (I had recently returned from London ) and when she subsequently paid us a visit from NYC (early 80s?). She was however the kind of person who one does not forget. A warm and generous spirit. We will miss her.


•  rich haber says:

January 6, 2012 at 12:18 am

there are so few geniuses, now one less. bad art, God, you sadistic idiot! rather be mad than sad right now. global warming and all the chocolate in the world cannot dispell the cold and darkness i feel. carol always challenged me to create more, plumb the depths, never rest on my laurels. i shall continue to do so and i'll know, c. i'll know.


•  Deborah Monroe says:

April 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Carol and I lived together during our college days, and have been together on and off since. She was an intensely self-centered woman – quite a rariety in those days of men-worship – and incredibly annoying! But talented and whimsical and one often wanted to catch at least a glimpse of what she was up to. As it happened, the more she looked into her own center, the more that center flowered into a reflection of us all.
So I can't begrudge her her self-centeredness – in fact, today I encourage it in my lady students. Will miss her very much, and hope MadHats and Madhatter's REview lives on as a reminder of her.


•  Stefanie Bennett says:

April 11, 2012 at 7:18 am

Am sitting here reading an early 1970s poem'Fairy Tale Feast' published in Khasmik
Quarterly's 1st edition. No one wrote like ‘the Novack' then – no one does now. I
remember her directness & talent without limit. I see her “smile.” Vale, Carol.


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