Thomas Wolfe–the one from North Carolina, author of great novels such as Look Homeward, Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again, not to be confused with the Tom Wolfe who wrote The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test–was born on this day, October 3, 1900. I’ve posted excerpts from Wolfe’s work before. I consider him not only one of the great American writers of all time, but also one of the greatest poets who never published poetry. Luckily, many others have noticed how lyrical and, well, poetic, Wolfe’s prose is, and I am the happy owner of a slim volume of Wolfe’s words lined out as poems. Here is a taste.
O flower of love
Whose strong lips drink us downward into death,
In all things far and fleeting,
Enchantress of our twenty thousand days,
The brain will madden
And the heart be twisted, broken by her kiss,
But glory, glory, glory, she remains:
Alone and aching in the wilderness,
We cried to you:
You were not absent from our loneliness.
–Thomas Wolfe, selected and arranged in verse
by John S. Barnes in A Stone, A Leaf, A Door