RIP Charles Tomlinson

cHARLES_TomlinsonCharles Tomlinson (1927-2015), one of the most consistently readable and insightful poets of our time,  died last week at the age of eighty-eight.

Editorial Reviews for Charles Tomlinson:

His poems are among the best in the English language this century. (Hugh Kenner)

Tomlinson’s perfected style has been little imitated, but I predict it will come to be seen as one of the major achievements of late twentieth-century English verse. (Times Literary Supplement)

Tomlinson’s poetry gives a refreshing rustle or seething to the words which bespeak the entrance of a new life. (William Carlos Williams)

A patient looker at landscape. (Willard Spiegelman)

A master of the craft, his poems have the finality of form which you find only among the first-rate. (Donald Hall)

He is fascinated―with his eyes open: a lucid fascination―at the universal busyness, the continuous generation and degeneration of things. (Octavio Paz)

Tomlinson, 76, is a painter as well as a poet, and his artist’s eye serves him well in his poetry…. This book in fact records a well-planned poetic itinerary. (Frank Wilson Philadelphia Inquirer)

Reading Charles Tomlinson makes one acutely aware that there’s a whole world outside―and inside too―just waiting to be noticed, and that the more we notice, the more we are enriched. (Chicago Tribune)

A standout. (New York Sun)

Mr. Tomlinson is an eloquent poet of place…whose work combines visual exactitude with an uncommon gracefulness of expression. (The Economist)

A Rose for Janet
by Charles Tomlinson

I know
this rose is only
an ink-and-paper rose
but see how it grows and goes
on growing
beneath your eyes:
a rose in flower
has had (almost) its vegetable hour
whilst my
rose of spaces and typography
can reappear at will
(you will)
whenever you repeat
this ceremony of the eye
from the beginning
and thus
learn how.


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