Alas, there is need for a second post today--alas
, for it too is about a death. Poet and culture-maker and lovely man Paul Stevens
died this morning in Australia, with all his family about him. Thanks to poet Janet Alexa Kenny
for letting his many fans and friends know. I'm thinking of the close of his poem about Tasmania: "At last to sail free / Between southern capes / Thick with kelp and wild foam, / With wave awash, surging, / Late sun on the headland, / And shadow down valley / Past all memory."
|The Flea. |
Cover image by Mark Bulwinkle.
Born in Yorkshire, Paul Stevens lived in Australia for most of his life. He graduated from the University of Sydney with an Honours degree in Early English Literature and Language, and studied history and archaeology as well. He taught history and literature in New South Wales, where he lived with his wife and family. He was a wide-ranging reader and thinker and generous to many.
Many of us are grateful to his work in founding magazines of formal poetry. The Shit Creek Review. Chimaera. The Flea.
I tend to think the marvelous Flea
his crowning glory as a magazine founder, as it is so very different from all other poetry magazines and so interesting in its relation to literary history--binding his love of Renaissance and metaphysical poetry to his love for his contemporaries. Artist Makoto Fujimura has talked about "caring for our culture." Paul Stevens was an example, a caretaker of culture.
, Paul Stevens, father and teacher, maker of poems and marvelous 'zines. I wish that I had known you sooner; I am glad that I knew you in the marvelous aether of the internet, where minds brush against one another despite all distance in space. Even now your words and your poetry 'zines touch us, although we are severed from you in time.
Archaeologists in Italy have unearthed two skeletons
thought to be
5,000 to 6,000 years old, locked in an embrace.
Their sex has not yet
been determined. (BBC)
Mother to daughter, softly touching, is it?
Sister to sister's delicate embrace?
Friend to friend, companions past corruption?
Brother to brother, face to well-loved face?
The wheat crop rippled in the heat, the cattle
Grazed sweet grass, milk splashed in bowls of clay;
All fell to dust; from dust these rise, recovered
As brush and trowel lift slow time away.
Lover to lover, holding all that's dear,
They gaze into each other's eyes, long blind,
Stripped back to bony gesture: stubborn relics,
So much of earth, so much of human kind.
Originally published in Poemeleon
, reprinted in The Hypertexts