Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
  • Home
  • About
  • Archive
  • Bio Notes
  • Bookshelf
  • Contents
  • Submit
SHJ Issue 12
Spring 2015

[A Pillar of Our Own Reach]

by Peter Bolland

Just found out that my friend and poetry mentor Steve Kowit died last night. He was seventy-six. He was a remarkable poet, and his support of my poetry and work as a singer-songwriter meant the world to me. It’s one thing when a fan says, “great job,” but when a writer of Steve’s caliber goes out of his way to talk about how powerful your work is, it stops you in your tracks and emboldens you to do more, go further, and slip deeper.

Steve Kowit changed my life. I took his poetry class at Southwestern College three fall semesters in a row a couple years back. After a long day of teaching my own classes, I’d relish the opportunity to sit in his class one evening a week and share poems with a group of committed and serious writers under the loving guidance of the master. And that’s another thing. Not only was he a world-class poet and an expert in the form, he was flat out a master teacher. I learned a lot about how to relax and be myself in the classroom from him. He never pretended to be anything other than what he was—he knew it was enough.

Steve, I love you and carry you with me in all of my work. You shaped so many—there are hordes of us writers out here who count you as a pillar of our own reach. (He probably would have hated that last sentence and would have gently but insistently suggested that I cut it). Here is one of his beautiful poems from the book Lurid Confessions, a collection published when he was in his forties: Crossing the River.

—Posted at Facebook on 2 April 2015; republished here by author’s permission
SHJ Issue 12
Spring 2015

Peter Bolland

San-Diego based writer, speaker, singer-songwriter, poet, and philosophy professor.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury