Sunday, June 12, 2005

Dead Poets

from the diary: “March 4, 1985

“Helen Luster died today of cancer of the liver. Boschka Layton and Jim Montrose both died of cancer in the last couple years. Poets dying just as soon as I’m coming up.”

I posted about Jim Montrose a few days ago.

Boschka Layton was the poet I supposedly disrespected by Writing during Creative Writing Class. It was her poem I was to say something about, or, if I had nothing to say, to sit quietly on my hands while no one else did either. I googled Boschka and found a poem of hers heading a profile of her ex-husband, the Canadian poet Irving Layton. First I’ve heard of Irving Layton and the most biographical information about Boschka I’ve yet seen. Boschka half scared me because she had some sort of nerve or muscle damage in her face that caused one side of her mouth to droop. This made her face limited in its expressions and not pretty. I would say she was nice enough but what do I know? I think we exchanged three words.

Helen Luster hosted (and co-led with Paul Mariah) the Poetry Workshop I’d been attending in Santa Rosa. I see in my notebook that I wrote a poem to Helen. I’m not going to reproduce the poem here. Since I don’t think it’s successful, but I like some of the details, I’m thinking about posting it on LuvSet for revision. It would be another of those challenges, impossible because, though I intended the poem as a tribute and as a portrait, I didn’t know Helen well at all, and knew almost nothing of her biography or even her poetry. What could I say?

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