Biography of Landis Everson
Landis Everson (October 5, 1926 – November 17, 2007) was an American poet. In the late 1940s, he was a member of the Berkeley Renaissance along with his friends Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, and Robin Blaser. Everson was the inaugural recipient of the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Foundation.
Everson was born and grew up in Coronado, California. He attended the University of Redlands in Southern California.
Everson, Spicer, and Blaser participated in a poetry group that met on Sundays up until 1960. Duncan was excluded from this group. Around this time James Herndon published Everson's pamphlet Postcard from Eden. His work also appeared in John Ashbery & Harry Mathews's Locus Solus in 1962.
Jack Spicer died in 1965; Robin Blaser moved to Vancouver; and Everson stopped writing poetry.
The Boston poet, Ben Mazer, came across Everson's work while he was putting together a special feature on the Berkeley Renaissance for Fulcrum. Mazer's interest encouraged Everson to start writing poetry again.
His collection, Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005 (ISBN 1555974538), edited by Ben Mazer, was published in 2006. This volume collects the poems Everson wrote in his two periods of writing: between 1955 and 1960, and then his later poems written between 2003 and 2005. Towards the end of his life, Everson lived in San Luis Obispo, California.
Landis Everson Poems
On the Terrace
The lonely breakfast table starts the day, an adjustment is made to understand why the other chair is empty. The morning beautiful and still to be, should woo me. Yet
'What you are struggling with,' said the psychologist, 'is a continuous song, something like a telephone's tone. Nebulous, noncommittal,
Time to Play
Now it's time to play. Nobody says, like they used to, but in my bones the desire overwhelms me. 'Write! Make a poem,' say the bones.
How did the valentines age so fast? Most of the names are forgotten. Billy, Billy, Billy, Jill I think strangers sent them out like advertising
A Poem That Starts Out Wrong
Put nothing down to distress the reader. No barking dog. No rustle in the place whispers belong or photos of petals near collapse.
A tree that grew in the Garden of Eden a tree of innocence called the Tree of Good and Evil. It was harmless
The Green Car
Defend me. I am not capable. The river sweeps by three minutes at once cleansing me of guilt. But the bear
Almost the first reindeer shipped North by boxcar from Lapland but a toy model
Valentine, valentine you arrive in a town car with a chauffered envelope, scattered pieces of you enrolled in schoolyards
the first reindeer
shipped North by boxcar from Lapland
but a toy model
got there first.
A dwarf invented reindeer on his own.
He was Santa's favorite. He