Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I'm thankful for my teachers. Most of all I'm thankful for Peter Meinke who was such a great inspiration to me (and many many others over the years), and such a great model for a hardworking and uncompromising writer. Poet, fiction writer, essayist and man for all seasons, and one who can always hold his liquor better than anyone I ever knew, growing funnier as the night went on. His poems are funny too. They became the models that I imitated early on. Funny and rich with emotion and complex while always being accessible. A marvelous blend of talents.

He taught me how to write, and showed by example how to live an academic life, one that is steeped in language and books and the arts.

And he's still kicking serious ass, as you can see here.

Or check out this interview.

Here's his website.

Advice to My Son by J. Peter Meinke

The trick is, to live your days
as if each one may be your last
(for they go fast, and young men lose their lives
in strange and unimaginable ways)
but at the same time, plan long range
(for they go slow; if you survive
the shattered windshield and the bursting shell
you will arrive
at our approximation here below
of heaven or hell).

To be specific, between the peony and the rose
plant squash and spinach, turnips and tomatoes;
beauty is nectar
and nectar, in a desert, saves–
but the stomach craves stronger sustaenance
than the honied vine.
Therefore, marry a pretty girl
after seeing her mother;
Show your soul to one man,
work with another;
and always serve bread with your wine.
But son, always serve wine.

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