1962 – 2019
Frank Rutledge was the first writer I encountered when I ventured over to the Fox Valley looking for a writing group. I’ll never forget the warm welcome he gave me to the Batavia Writers Group he’d been “facilitating” for a number of years at the library. From that first enthusiastic welcome until his last days, Frank was always the supportive friend every writer — ever person — should have. In the group critiques his intelligence and instinctive understanding of the craft made better writers of all who joined the sessions.
Frank steered me to the Waterline Writers reading series where he helped curate the poetry submissions, and he introduced me to the classy side of the local literary scene. Our shared love of the written word made every Sunday at Waterline something to anticipate with excitement. And then those summer nights in Geneva at Harmonious Howl, the open mic of music and poetry he led on the front patio of Graham’s 418 Coffee Shop, will always be treasured memories. Even random Saturday mornings over coffee at Limestone Café in Batavia had their moments; I know a lot of writers went on from those discussions to more productive and positive week-ends. Frank did so much to enhance our lives and make us all so much better, even as his own real-life troubles wore him down.
Frank will be missed by all who knew and loved him. We must take solace from our memories, where the poet will live on multiplied through the community and beyond. Because his poetry outlives him, as literature outlives us all, and that is as it should be.
Frank’s four books of poetry are available from Amazon:
Eat the Punch Line, This Joke is Over, (2016)
Clothed in August Skin, (2016)
Voice In a Whisper, (2017)
The Corner of Tuesday and Happenstance, (2018)
To really appreciate Frank’s enthusiasm and love of the genre, look up his Waterline readings, which are available on You Tube and in the Waterline Writers Archive.
A sample: Frank Reading at Waterline Writers April 15, 2018
Frank’s work was published in numerous journals and appeared in several issues of Foxtales, the literary journal of the Fox Valley Writing Group.
Efforts are under way to collect and edit the great body of Frank’s unpublished works.
A web page produced by musical partner Dan Swigert:
Crop Circle Collective: A Collection of Frank’s Work
Other tributes and Obituaries:
“Fox Valley Poet ‘saw with his soul, inspired others to create'” by Harry Hitzeman (Daily Herald)
“Let Us Now Praise Famous Poets” by Rick Hollinger (Kane County Chronicle)