Cultural Writing. Memoir. It is impossible to imagine what American poetry in the twentieth century might look like without the magnamity of the late James Laughlin, poet and publisher of New Directions. Among Laughlin's closest friends was poet Hayden Carruth, who served as author, editor, clerk, and typist for New Directions and, at a more personal level, poetry doctor for Laughlin himself. BESIDE THE SHADBLOW TREE is the meditation of one great old poet upon the death of another, upon two lives intertwined in various ways for half a century.