I've been gutted, recently, by the loss of some great writing talent -- and I'm still getting used to the idea that there won't be many new books from them. Harry Calhoun, Doug Draime, and Dan Fante all recently passed...all of whom have more than a few books sitting on my shelves.
I knew Harry a little, trading emails, and once even sharing time on a Blogtalk Radio show. Doug was one of my poetry heroes--someone who wrote poems in endless styles, and on endless subjects...all of them running from insightful to profane. Dan Fante, son of legendary writer John Fante, and a damn talented writer in his own right, was a kind supporter of many young writers, and was a man I very much hoped to meet one day.
So, yeah, it's been a tough year for poets.
If I have a take-away from all this, I'd say this is it: Do your best to do beautiful things while you can. It gives tremendous meaning to lives that get foolishly complicated by the more mundane business of living.
Okay fallen poets, you beautiful bastards...I'm about to raise a glass to all the fine thing you did in your years as a hearty thanks for your hard-scrabble living and dying. Slainte.