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Poetry. "What a wonderful gift to have these last poems by Jack Myers. It is a book I wouldn't be without. Jack was a quintessentially American poet. He wrote in a distilled American idiom with a wiseguy humor that is truly wise. He honored the past, and the future, too, but knew a poet's work was to strive for the elusive eternal present. Poetry, for Jack, is the art of the elusive, which is where mystery resides. Poetry, for Jack, was making up his prayer. He knew he might never arrive at some all-explaining religion, but, damn, he had a beautiful prayer"—Stuart Dybek.
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The career of JACK MYERS (1941-2009) spanned five decades, during which time he authored/edited nineteen books of and about poetry. His many awards include two NEA Fellowships and the 1985 National Poetry Series selected by Seamus Heaney, who described Myers’ work as "wise in the pretense of just fooling around." A much-loved teacher, Jack helped hundreds of poets find their voice through the creative writing programs at Vermont College and Southern Methodist University, as well as during residencies from Idaho to Prague. From 1993-95, he served as co-Vice-President for AWP and co-founded, with his wife, Thea Temple, The Writer’s Garret literary center in Dallas; in 2003-04 he was selected to be the Poet Laureate of Texas.Review:
“Jack Myers’ posthumous book, The Memory of Water, contains many of his finest poems. Mark Cox, who assembled the manuscript with Jack’s widow, Thea Temple, provides a lucid and moving account of Jack’s life and work in his Foreword to the collection. As was true for almost all of Myers’ books, the writer and speaker are indistinguishable. And this is one of their signal pleasures: the poems are good company—they have the voice of the man, a man by turns sage and comic, seeker and smart aleck, a person “sentenced to be bewildered” all his life (“Past Due”) and yet who thinks of his “soul as something like a scent” (“Plans”). This back and forth, the questioning and speculating, the concluding followed by doubting, keeps the reader comfortably off-balance, a dialogue with self that is never dull to witness and hear, due to Myers’ extraordinary diction and syntax. The Memory of Water is marked by curiosity and compassion, qualities explored in lines capable of lilting and grieving at the same time. Jack Myers was a master of the American idiom who charged common speech with mysterious and memorable phrases.”—John Skoyles, Ploughshares
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