Alan Robert Proctor


Mr. Proctor’s poetry, fiction, and/or creative non-fiction have appeared in New Letters, Chautauqua, I-70 Review, Kansas City Voices, The Rockhurst Review, and Hanging Loose among other journals. He was twice a Reader’s Digest national poetry finalist, and a winner in the Whispering Prairie Press 2012 Rex Rogers Formal Poetry Contest. He is anthologized in The Whirlybird Anthology of Kansas City Writers and Writers Digest’s “Red Heart Black Heart Valentine’s Day Collection”. His novel, Adirondack Summer, was published as an e-book in 2013. A memoir, The Sweden  ...See more >

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"An inviting exchange of stories and ideas across two continents and half a tumultuous decade."

Kirkus Reviews


101 Literary Stars of 2015-Kansas City Star, 2015: The Sweden File: MEMOIR OF AN AMERICAN EXPATRIATE

101 Literary Stars of 2015, 2015


Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-1-63-391195-6
Page count: 254pp

A conscientious objector flees enlistment in Vietnam by making a new life in Sweden in this posthumous autobiographical collection.

Bruce Proctor’s memoir, compiled and edited by his younger brother, poet and novelist Alan Robert Proctor (Adirondack Summer, 2013, etc.), revisits the late 1960s: the horrors of total war in Vietnam, the unpredictable tides of the American counterculture, and the feeling of being young in a mad world. “Not fear of death, but fear of not being able to live while taking part in killing” is what drives Bruce to renounce his citizenship and leave the country when the National Guard is called up in 1968. “I was born to be a Swede,” Bruce declares on arrival in the Scandinavian country, and he’s besotted by the ease of life and the clear summer light. But the nights grow long, work is hard to find, and whiskey is too easily available. He works in the warehouse of a chemical plant, then as a lumber hand, then by driving a taxi. He goes back to school to earn a master’s degree but eventually sours on academia. Finally, in 1972, he and his wife decamp for Canada. The letters and journal entries here read as a kind of collage of the period: writers and addressees switch off, stories of sailing and camping sit alongside reflections on the horrors of war, the uselessness of the American opposition, newspaper clippings, photographs, and Alan’s own poems. “He could be humorous, pragmatic, philosophical, obtuse, and mystical all in one paragraph,” the editor writes of his brother, who died in 2011, and all those qualities are evident here. Editor Proctor has obviously put great patience and care into selecting these fragments, and the time was well-spent: readers are never lost, always engaged, and often charmed by the liveliness of Bruce’s prose (and of Alan’s verse scattered throughout the text). “It is not unusual for a Swede not to speak if he has nothing to say and perhaps it is this quality which gives the impression of depth,” Bruce writes at one point. Neither brother holds his tongue in this collection, and readers are richer for it.

An inviting exchange of stories and ideas across two continents and half a tumultuous decade. 


ADIRONDACK SUMMER, 1969 (Unpublished)
Literary Fiction

For nearly two decades, Deidre Cravitz has managed a fine arts summer camp for creative children in the heart of upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains. As the 1969 summer camp season approaches, however, Deidre dies in a car accident. Grief stricken, her husband, Myron, can’t bring himself to cancel his wife’s summer passion despite his ignorance of camp supervision and the impending arrival of 80 children. Adirondack Summer is a coming-of-age story and an account of passion’s varied strata: love lost, love found, friendship, lust, obsession, revenge, homicide, and renewal. You’ll meet innocent children sent into the mountains to improve their artistic skills and who return – changed. You’ll encounter counselors who confront dead brothers, arson’s haunting history and the dicey choices an infamous war forces on the young. You’ll meet the town’s residents who, after the black fly-infested months of 1969, grapple with a redefinition of “summer camp” as they have come to know it, one that now includes unexpected fall-out that will last a generation.