James Longenbach was my first poetry professor, and probably my best. He’s also hands-down the best writer on poetry today, in my opinion — writing eloquently not just with a passion for poetry, but with compassion for it, too. If I ever teach a creative writing class, The Art of the Poetic Line will be on my syllabus.
I only took his workshop as a sophomore at the University of Rochester because I wanted to be a biochemist who wrote SF novels on the side, and thought I should learn to inject some poetry into my prose. Eight years later, here I am, so obviously calling the class inspiring would be an understatement.
Anyway, I sent him a copy of American Fractal with bated breath, and this email just now made me very happy:
from: James Longenbach
to: Timothy Green
date: Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM
Your gorgeous book just arrived in the mail today–what an achievement! The first poem (as far as I’ve gotten so far) is gorgeous, utterly, beautifully paced. I look forward to settling into the whole spread once this semester gets under control.
Till soon, I’m sure–