Craig and I survived the PhD program at the University of Utah together — it was a terrible time for me, a program that wasn’t a good fit, and in general, an experience that taught me that academia wasn’t a good habitat for me. But Craig, Craig was maddening, a provacateur by nature, but he was also one of the truly kind people I met at Utah. His loss, which is chronicled here at the Salt Lake Tribune, is immense. He was an enormous talent, a poet just hitting his stride. There’s a lovely rememberence here by his friend Michael Hanson.
The best tribute you can give though, is, as our mutual friend Joel Long suggested, to go outside and “read a poem by Craig Arnold out loud with bravado, like a rock star.”
So today Craig, in my backyard, I’m sending up my words to you — although no one will ever read “Hot” with the same insinuating tone that you always did. It’s the best we can do, to keep the poems alive — for those of you who don’t know Craig’s work, we have two books —Shells (Yale Series of Younger Poets) and Made Flesh. There’s also the blog he was keeping of his volcano adventures: Volcano Pilgrim.
It’s a huge loss, for his family, his son Robin, his partner Rebecca, and for all of us who knew and worked with him. It’s also a huge loss for American poetry. Our only small small consolation is that they think he went quickly, and that he hadn’t been out there suffering, as many of us had feared.