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Free Verse: Thomas Lux


This month’s poem seemed like a perfect choice for the ilk that reads the “Free Verse” column and the ilk that reads “St. Louis Public Radio.”

Thomas Lux

You and Your Ilk

I have thought much upon

who might be my ilk,

and that I am ilk myself if I have ilk.

Is one of my ilk, or me, the barber

who cuts the hair of the blind?

And the man crushed by cruelties

for which we can't imagine sorrow,

who would be his ilk?

And whose ilk was it

standing around, hands in pockets, May 1933,

when 2,242 tons of books were burned?

Not mine. So: what makes my ilkness my

ilkness? No answers, none forthcoming.

To be one of the ilks, that's all

I hoped for; to say hello to the mailman,

nod to my neighbors, to watch

my children climb the stairs of a big yellow bus

which takes them to a place

where they learn to read

and write and eat their lunches

from puzzle trays—all around them, amid

the clatter and din,

amid bananas, bread, and milk.

all around them: them and their ilk.

Thomas Lux has published 12 books of poems, including Split Horizon, for which he received the Kingsley Tufts Award. A former Guggenheim fellow and a recipient of three NEA grants, he holds the Bourne Chair in Poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is director of the McEver Visiting Writers Program. This poem is from Child Made of Sand (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).

Jazzy Danziger and Thomas Lux

What: River Styx series

When: 7:30 p.m. March 17

Where: Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Ave.

Cost: $3-$5


Other "Free Verse" poets: Gary FinckeKaty Didden,  Lee UptonAnnie FinchRobert Wrigley,James ArthurJanice N. HarringtonWilliam TrowbridgeFrancesca BellJoshua MehiganJill Alexander EssbaumDrucilla WallMichael MeyerhoferTravis Mossotti,Allison JosephStacy Lynn BrownAdrian MatejkaDavid ClewellCatherine Rankovic,Andy CoxRodney JonesSara BurgeMelody GeeChristopher Todd Anderson,Andrew HudginsRichard Cecil.


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