Poetry A Tribute to Lewis Warsh
Lewis Warsh is in my head. I keep replaying his courtly presentation, the seemingly casual asides that would resonate with meaning days later, and the languid gestures punctuated by his oversized ring.
His writing is on my mind, too. Its knowledge of protocols and how to play with them. The harkening back to lost havens of domesticity that provide succor but also create interesting emotional obstacle courses. The confidential tone that hints at behind-the-door intensities. The humor and warmth.
Lewis’ books occupy a good-sized shelf in my bookcase. But how many of my shelves are filled with other books he helped bring into the world? The answer: many. In addition to being a prolific poet and fiction writer, Lewis was remarkably generous. Throughout his long writing career he found time to support other writers’ work by editing, publishing and advocating for them. He believed in fostering a myriad of voices. He believed in community.
I was lucky to have Lewis as a friend and supporter. I was lucky to work with him on projects, to discuss poetry, and to share wonderful gossip. Lewis is in my head . . . and I’ll keep him there.
I try to memorize every tic
every way of your presence
so my memory has a
sticking point and won’t float free.
It’s an old story no secret
we carry our specifics
until we can’t anymore
then others pick them up
and carry forward the music:
your elegant loaded gestures
in mid-air with your words
that etched but felt light
and seemed like a shrug.