Read Vijay Seshadri's touching post on the death of American poet Tom Lux
'I was desperate to belong somewhere and Tom said, Well, you can belong here, because I say you can.'
- Total Shares
I came into my office at Sarah Lawrence and heard the heartbreaking news that Tom Lux had died. I don't have any information yet.
The last time we communicated, in December he told me he'd had health problems but that he'd be fine. Tom is the reason I'm sitting in this office, typing this in shock and grief. He gave me my job here and protected me and guided me through the intricate channels of academic life. He gave me the job because I was a poet who had published a book of poems and was about to publish another.
I had published a book of poems and was about to publish another because in 1974 when I was nineteen and wanted to be a writer and a poet but had no standing as either and was frightened and confused about my capacity to live not just in America but in the world (not to speak of my confusion about my ability to write something that anyone else wanted to read), Tom agreed to let me be a part of a small workshop he was teaching at Oberlin and encouraged me and praised my poems and recommended me to others and gave me not just a literary identity but a human identity I was desperate for.Photo: PoetryFoundation.org
I was desperate to belong somewhere and Tom said, Well, you can belong here, because I say you can.
I've been sustained by that all my subsequent life. Only to my parents do I owe more than I do to Tom Lux. I can't imagine being in the world without him.
(This post first appeared on Facebook)