Monday, February 8, 2010

R.I.P., Robert Dana

Sad news. Poet Robert Dana passed away Saturday morning, February 6, at Mercy Hospice in Iowa City after a lengthy struggle with pancreatic cancer. He died peacefully with his wife and family present. His last two books will be published in April--New & Selected Poems 1955 to 2010 (Anhinga), and a book of essays, Paris on the Flats: Versions of a Literary Life (University of Tampa). His publishers and friends will host an informal tribute at this year’s AWP Conference in Denver.

Guy Libeda, a longtime friend now with the Utah Arts Council, wrote: “He gave freely from his experience and his wisdom. I asked him for advice, not just about the lit biz, but about life & love. I looked up to him & valued his friendship. Another of our older brothers in the order has passed. Soon we will be the elders in our world. I just hope we are able to provide the kind of wisdom RP did.”

Robert Dana’s own words remain memorably eloquent, as these from his “Elegy for a Hometown”: “Soon I'll bury my own shadow & slip away like sunlight. / Simplicity's what I'm best at. / In the end, / a small box of a house by the sea. / No electricity. / No running water. Dirt floored. / Prayer, /wind & slapdash from the whereafter.”

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