Remembering Thomas Lux

Photo by Michael Skinner

On Feb. 5, 2017, Tech’s own Dr. Thomas Lux passed away at age 70. He was considered to be an influential poet in contemporary American poetry and graced Tech’s campus with his presence as head of [email protected] and as teacher of poetry member in the LMC department.

I never knew him as a professor, but as a man eager to spread his vast knowledge and passion for poetry.

As an incoming freshman, I came from an background where I would stealthily skip gym class to go into the woods behind my high school to read the Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde with my friend, to Tech, where I was often scoffed at for the fact that I could recite the prologue of Geoffery Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and for my interest in John Donne’s Holy Sonnets.

I was keenly welcomed at [email protected], greeted by Jennifer Holley Lux, Ph.D and Thomas Lux, unsure of how to address them since they were both “Dr. Lux.”

The first time I met Dr. Thomas Lux was at a dinner, and I was invited by my ENGL 1102 professor, Mirja Lobnik, to join her and the Drs. Lux in a dinner welcoming their close colleague, Bruce Weigl, as well as other esteemed poets, prior to a poetry reading at the Paper Museum.

I was honored, but petrified. I remember feeling intimidated by Dr. Thomas Lux (and everyone else in the room) when I first arrived at the restaurant. Who wouldn’t, in the presence of one of the most influential and esteemed poets of this age? But Dr. Lux made me feel welcome, and we quickly eased into conversation, the topics ranging from estrangement from once-close people to whether the intricately-carved rose-shaped vegetable on my plate was a radish or a turnip. (We established that it was a turnip.)

From the short time I spent with him, he offered great clarity into the importance of poetry and demonstrated an unrivaled passion for not only studying poetry but spreading his passion for poetry. Thomas Lux will be remembered for his generosity paired with his dedication for teaching, his originality, and his unsparing sincerity. His presence will not only be missed by Tech’s community, but among the many friends, family and acquaintances on which he had an impact, and among the community of poets.