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About this poet

Elton Glaser was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1945. He earned a BA and MA in English from the University of New Orleans, as well as an MFA from the University of California at Irvine.

He is the author of eight poetry collections, including The Law of Falling Bodies (University of Arkansas Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize; Translations from the Flesh (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013); and Here and Hereafter (University of Arkansas Press, 2005), winner of the Arkansas Poetry Award.

Glaser’s honors include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, seven fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council, the Iowa Poetry Prize, and the 1996 Ohioana Poetry Award.

He is a distinguished professor emeritus of English at the University of Akron, as well as the former director of the University of Akron Press and former editor of the Akron Series in Poetry. Glaser lives in Ohio.


Bibliography

Poetry
The Law of Falling Bodies (University of Arkansas Press, 2013)
Translations from the Flesh (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013)
Here and Hereafter (University of Arkansas Press, 2005)
Pelican Tracks (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003)
Winter Amnesties (Southern Illinois University Press, 2000)
Color Photographs of the Ruins (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992)
Tropical Depressions (University of Iowa Press, 1988)
Relics (Wesleyan University Press, 1983)

 

Art and Nature

He was painting the sky. Not painting images of sun and clouds on canvas—no, slapping paint across the sky itself. It was a painting en plein air on plain air.

There was a theory behind it, of course, a theory so big it didn’t matter anymore, a map the size of the territory.

Go tell it to the birds, he would say. But the birds didn’t care. They were flying nonchalantly through the sky, and he would paint them, too, the redbirds blue and the bluebirds red.

Of course, the paint would drip everywhere. But didn’t it always? That’s what the rag was for, and the little blade. As someone said: If art was not difficult, it would not be art.

The critics hadn’t found the right word for it yet. Not exactly realism, and not quite surrealism—not even subrealism. But he couldn’t wait for the critics to make up their minds. He just kept painting, while the sun was out.

At the end of the day, his work was done. He put away his paints, and the sun put itself away, and the clouds likewise. It was so dark he couldn’t see the grass around his feet, no longer green but a ground of many colors, still wet, like some kaleidoscope of dew.

Ah, what would he paint tomorrow? A seascape? He thought of the water, wave after wave, and his small brush dabbling in the shallows, stroking out into the deep.

Copyright © 2018 Elton Glaser. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Winter 2018.

Copyright © 2018 Elton Glaser. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Winter 2018.

Elton Glaser

Elton Glaser is the author of several books of poetry, including The Law of Falling Bodies (University of Arkansas Press, 2013), winner of the 2013 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize; Translations from the Flesh (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013); and Here and Hereafter (University of Arkansas Press, 2005), winner of the Arkansas Poetry Award.