Poet Landis Everson was born in Coronado, California. He studied at the University of California-Berkeley, where he was poetry editor of Occident
and a member of the Berkeley Renaissance, a group of writers that included poets Jack Spicer
, Robert Duncan
, and Robin Blaser
. After studying for an MA at Columbia University, he returned to the San Francisco area and became involved in a weekly workshop with his fellow Berkeley poets. When the group disbanded in the 1960s, Everson stopped writing poetry for roughly 43 years, choosing to paint and renovate houses instead. In 2003, poet and editor Ben Mazer contacted him about his work, and Everson returned to writing. His first collection of poems, Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005
(2006), won the Emily Dickinson First Book Award from the Poetry Foundation. His new work was published in American Poetry Review
, The New Yorker
, and other journals.
Everson’s work can be sly, playful, and imaginative. While studying for his MA at Columbia University, Everson wrote poems in the style of a Renaissance poet of his own invention, eventually submitting a thesis on the work of that writer. Blogger Jeremiah Douglas, discussing Everson’s poem “I Reach for My Night,” wrote, “Everson can step out into the imaginary forest (or even a checkered chess board) and find suddenly, his intimate self, open and exposed.”
In 2007, Everson suffered a stroke that left him unable to write, and he committed suicide soon after.