Robert Lax Week in the Bay Area

It was Robert Lax week in the Bay Area in mid-February.  On Thursday, Feb. 11, Michael N. McGregor, John Beer and S. T. Georgiou (who all knew Lax and have written or edited books by or about him) spoke, read and reminisced about their friend at City Lights Books in San Francisco.  Five nights later, McGregor read from his biography Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax at Pegasus Books in Berkeley. (The images below are from the two events.)

It was standing-room-only at City Lights as the three men talked about Lax’s friendships with Jack Kerouac and Thomas Merton, his avant-garde poetry, and his role as a spiritual inspiration for many.  Among those in attendance were Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia and Mike Antonucci, nephew of Lax’s first publisher and close friend Emil Antonucci.  The Pegasus reading was well attended too, leaving the Bay Area with broader knowledge of this important poet and spiritual figure.

McGregor and Beer will appear at another reading at 6:30 p.m. this Tuesday, February 23, in room 333, Smith Memorial Union on the Portland State University campus in Portland, OR.

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February 11 & 16: Robert Lax Readings at City Lights in SF and Pegasus Books in Berkeley

The life and poetry of Robert Lax will be be featured at two events in California’s Bay Area in February.  On February 11, Michael N. McGregor, John Beer and S. T. Georgiou will talk about their friendship with Lax and read from works by and about him at Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s famed City Light Books.

The evening is a celebration of McGregor’s new biography Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax as well as two recent Lax collections: In the Beginning Was Love: Contemplative Words of Robert Lax, edited by Georgiou, and new poems (1962-1997), edited by Beer.  This is a rare opportunity to hear three of Lax’s friends talk about his life and the time they spent with him in Greece.

Five days later, on February 16, McGregor will do a solo reading from Pure Act at Pegasus Books in Berkeley.

Here are the details:

Thursday, February 11, 2016–7 p.m.–A Celebration of Robert Lax, with biographer Michael N. McGregor, poet John Beer, and author S. T. Georgiou, City Lights Books, 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA

Tuesday, February 16, 2016–7:30 p.m.–Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA

A New Book of Lax’s Contemplative Writings, edited by S. T. Georgiou

S. T. [Steve] Georgiou, who knew Robert Lax for many years, visiting him on the island of Patmos and exchanging numerous letters, has published a small but impactful collection of Lax’s observations and poems called In the Beginning Was Love: Contemplative Words of Robert Lax.

Drawn mostly from Lax’s journals and published works, the 81 numbered selections provide a rich and eclectic look at Lax’s thoughts about the world and spiritual matters.  Georgiou has added several facsimiles of Lax’s handwritten poems and a handful of photographs of Lax and his Patmian world, along with notes that give the sources of the book’s quotes.  Georgiou’s nine-page introduction is focused on Lax as a spiritual figure and, although it contains a few small factual errors and occasionally  drifts into academic language, it gives a good sense of Lax’s spirit and makes a strong argument for why his life and words are important in today’s world.

This is a book to keep by your desk or bedside to dip into when you need inspiration or a peaceful spirit before sleep.  The entries come from many parts of Lax’s life and aren’t dated, so you have to give yourself over to the general spirit that animated him throughout his days: a spirit of love and peace, prayer and patience.

Paperback, Templegate Publishers, 136 pages, with a foreword by Jonathan Montaldo, $15.95

“A luminous offering of poetry and prayer; every page is a meditation.”  — Jonathan Montaldo, editor of The Intimate Merton