poem index

About this poet

Thomas Lynch was born in 1948 in Detroit, Michigan.

He is the author of five collections of poetry: Skating with Heather Grace (Alfred A. Knopf, 1986), Grimalkin & Other Poems (Cape Poetry: 1994), Still Life in Milford (W.W. Norton & Company, August 1998, November 1999), Walking Papers (W.W. Norton, February 2010), The Sin-Eater: A Breviary (Paraclete Press of Brewster, MA: September, 2011).

A funeral director as well as a poet, Lynch's work has been the subject of film documentaries, including PBS Frontline's "The Undertaking," which won the 2008 Emmy Award for Arts and Culture Documentary.

Lynch is the recipient of grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Council for the Arts, the Michigan Library Association, the Writers Voice Project, and the National Book Foundation.

He has taught with the Department of Mortuary Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, with the graduate program in writing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and with the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

He lives in Milford, Michigan.

Refusing at Fifty-Two to Write Sonnets

Thomas Lynch, 1948
It came to him that he could nearly count
How many Octobers he had left to him
In increments of ten or, say, eleven
Thus: sixty-three, seventy-four, eighty-five.
He couldn't see himself at ninety-six—
Humanity's advances notwithstanding
In health-care, self-help, or new-age regimens—
What with his habits and family history,
The end he thought is nearer than you think.

The future, thus confined to its contingencies,
The present moment opens like a gift:
The balding month, the grey week, the blue morning,
The hour's routine, the minute's passing glance—
All seem like godsends now.  And what to make of this?
At the end the word that comes to him is Thanks.

From Walking Papers. Copyright © 2010 by Thomas Lynch. Used with permission of W. W. Norton & Company.

Thomas Lynch

Thomas Lynch was born in 1948 in Detroit, Michigan.

He is the author of five collections of poetry: Skating with Heather Grace (Alfred A. Knopf, 1986), Grimalkin & Other Poems (Cape Poetry: 1994), Still Life in Milford (W.W. Norton & Company, August 1998, November 1999), Walking Papers (W.W. Norton, February 2010), The Sin-Eater: A Breviary (Paraclete Press of Brewster, MA: September, 2011).