MFA, University of Alaska Fairbanks; BA, Salem State College
Tom Sexton taught English at UAA for 24 years. He was an Alaskan poet and scholar who became the state's Poet Laureate in 1995, having been selected by the Alaska State Council on the Arts and confirmed by the Alaskan legislature.
| ||Autumn in the Alaska Range|
These are poems of the
natural world, of light and dark and the changing of the seasons. We
find Tu Fu chanting a poem deep in the Alaska Range, a man who becomes a
bear during his morning walk, a world of light carved from a piece of
ivory, and walruses in their home beneath the ocean deciding if they
will offer themselves to a hunter. Not all of the poems are set in
Alaska. There are poems about growing up in a decaying mill town, the
suicide of the poet's mother and how the past is always with us.
However, Sexton returns again and again to the conviction that the world
itself is sacred -- an ancient belief we need to recover.
| ||A Clock with No Hands|
These poems are visceral and evocative reminiscences of growing up in a
decaying mill city in the 1940s and 50s. The relatives, the workers, the
streets, canals, and old factories of Lowell, Massachusetts live again
in Sexton's deft imagination. There are poems of the neighborhood and
the family, of his father during hard times collecting scrap metal off
the streets, Uncle Paul getting laid off, homages to waitresses and
laundry workers, and the tree wherein are carved the names of a season of
Boston Red Sox lineup. Many of the poems are sonnets, some free verse,
and all show Sexton's eye for the telling detail.
| ||For the Sake of the Light: New and Selected Poems|
This collection of new and selected poems opens a door on the essence of life in Alaska and
Maine. Sexton divides his year between the two states, and he captures
here the small but powerful sensual details of day-to-day life in these
contrasting, yet similar, environs. His carefully crafted verse distills
the birch and aspen, lynx and ptarmigan, and the snow on high peaks.
Through his poems we thrill to experience encounters with the wild, the
seasons, and the sublime landscape.