Friday, August 22, 2003

James Whitehead

Jim Whitehead, author of the novel Joiner and many books of poetry, was my favorite teacher. I took several of his courses at the University of Arkansas, mostly poetry, and learned more from him in those short days than I did anywhere else. The man was a tower in person and on paper. He was a viscious editor and a good friend. The parties at his house were the best I've ever attended. He died in Fayetteville, Arkansas, of an aortic aneurysm, the same thing that killed my father.

Here's a line from his sonnet "A Local Man Doesn't Like the Music":
Those tunes don't recollect one memory
I ever had. Not one could call my name.
And when the music isn't company
It's time to go and time to change your mind.

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