Friday, August 20, 2010

More on poetry

As poetry makes its way back into my life these days, I was delighted to open the newly-arrived (August 24) issue of The Christian Century, in which editor John M. Buchanan writes: "When I am blessed with a little more leisure time than usual, I like to spend some of it with poetry. This summer, I am thoroughly enjoying God Particles, by Thomas Lux, who teaches poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology."

Tom Lux directed my honor's thesis in poetry while I was at Oberlin College; he was both brilliant and spooky. The spooky part had to do with his health, about which we students knew little other than to be worried. He wore lots of black clothing, and his book of poems, Memory's Handgrenade, sports a memorable all-black dust jacket. But spookier still was what Tom wrote inside my copy: "Raisin, This book is yours & the moon which shines over my grave is yours. Best, Tom."

Every time I find a new book of Tom's poems, I'm both excited and relieved -- that he's writing, that he's teaching, and that he's still breathing. Like editor Buchanan, I too have enjoyed reading God Particles, and I remember that this is a poet whose use of sharp, clean imagery fills my mind with movement and color, despite all the black that, in the mid-seventies, seemed to surround him.


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