Monday, March 31, 2014

John Leax*

John Leax, the author of six poetry collections, served as professor of English and poet-in-residence at Houghton College in New York State from 1968 until his retirement in 2009. He has also written several books of nonfiction, such as Grace Is Where I Live (2000), and the novel Nightwatch (1989).

His two most recent poetry books have appeared since he was last profiled at Kingdom Poets, and they could hardly be more different from each other. His 2012 collection, Recluse Freedom (WordFarm), follows the familiar path of the outdoorsman—the gardener, hiker, fisherman, bird-watcher—written within Jack's well-crafted free verse style. Read my Ruminate review.

As much as I like that collection, I'm much more excited about his new book. He approached me about it, even as his last was being launched. Remembering Jesus: Sonnets and Songs (Cascade), not only follows traditional poetic structures, but is written entirely from the perspective of the people who encountered Jesus in the gospels. Most of the poems are traditional sonnets, however there are a number of other poems interspersed throughout, called "Resurrection Songs" .

The following poem is from John Leax's new collection, Remembering Jesus: Sonnets and Songs, which is the tenth book I've edited for the Poiema Poetry Series.

Fisherman’s Dream

John 6: 1–21

A boy, eager for excitement, I chased
The crowd along the shore. Disaster surely
Awaited—shipwreck, bodies, bones, the waste
Of life. But not that. A man, lovely
Of voice netted me with stories. I stayed.
The sea was still and quiet. The sun spoke
On the hillside. We lingered. The voice played
The hours short. Then sudden hunger broke
The calm.
---------------------I love this hour of shadows flung
Shoreward by light behind my boat. I heed
Once more the work-rough hand on my arm, the one
Who took my fish and took my bread to feed
The host. Some nights I sail out on the lake
And dream he follows walking in the wake.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about John Leax: first post

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His new poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.