Paperback, 64 pages
Publisher: New Directions (April 2015)
Selected by Barbara Epler
“This thin poetry pamphlet collects three long poems Lax wrote on the island of Patmos, where he lived for many years as a hermit, and to me it reads as if King Solomon were doing a stand-up routine: strange, witty, simple and deep.” —Barbara Epler
Robert Lax (1915-2000) was an Abstract Minimalist poet who spent the last 35 years of his life in relative seclusion on the Greek island of Patmos. Before that, he had worked as a juggler, touring circuses across North America and Europe. And before that, he was an accomplished writer and a mentor to Jack Kerouac. This poem represents Lax’s work at its most minimal, laid out to be read from top to bottom, not left to right. Although not religious himself, much of his work has a spiritual bent.
Lax lived alone, but wasn’t a hermit in the strictest sense. He welcomed visitors with regularity at his Patmos home.