Quiet end what wait
Day day must go return
Wish seek fragrant grass go
Grieve with old friend separated
On road who mutual help
Understanding friend life this scarce
Only should observe solitude
Again close native area door
I’d been so busy with the bookstore that we’d not been in touch. I always thought we’d have time for that breakfast, for those drinks, for that laughter. I heard about his death only minutes before the memorial gathering was to begin. Stunned, and dressed in my standard bookseller’s uniform of jeans and wrinkled shirt, unshaven, I felt inadequate to the occasion, betrayed, embarrassed. The clear sky pressed uncomfortably close. How dare he die! Why did I not know? The ground shifted underfoot and I walked like a man underwater. I swatted at a buzzing wasp, not caring if it retaliated. And for the first time I realized that I, too, was dying. We all were. We all are. The gathering was lovely, memorable. Friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers spoke. I could not.
I once said that I hoped to become half the poet that Prentiss was. I may finally be approaching that elusive mark, but I’m still angry. How dare he die!
To read one of his most memorable poems, please look here:
And my poem for Prentiss can be found on this blog:
In his essay “On Poetry and Uncertain Subjects” in the May 2018 issue of Poetry, Jack Underwood discusses uncertainty and “the empathetic negotiation of meaning between poets and readers.” No wonder I so often feel uneasy yet somehow comforted before, after, and while writing…
Gemini Ink Writers Conference in San Antonio, July 2018
This 3-day conference has quite the line up in poetry, with renowned poet and editor Veronica Golos, Pulitzer Prize winner Vijay Seshadri, and Ruth Lilly Prize winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Martín Espada. I can’t pass up this opportunity, and have already registered for Veronica Golos’s workshop. The conference runs from Friday, July 20 until 6:00 p.m. Sunday, July 22. If you’re a local or don’t mind traveling and want to sample the Texas summer (we do have air conditioning), you might consider Gemini Ink Writers Conference. I’m excited!
The non-poetry offerings are equally impressive, but hey, I’m a poet, and will let someone else address those.