'The Rest Is Silence': RIP John Gardiner

  1. I received the news a few hours ago that John Gardiner has died, after having a heart attack behind the wheel. It's a little surreal. I've known him most of my life, and loved him like a brother. Even – maybe especially – when we were feuding. He could be an amazing person, and he could be difficult, and I think, ultimately, all he really wanted was to live a quiet life in Laguna Beach, recite Shakespeare and write poems, and I suppose he achieved that.
  2. John was an excellent poet, very influenced by the Beats and the like of Gary Snyder and Galway Kinnell. His poems were often simple and prosaic, but there was a deep layer of spirituality to them. He revered nature, and it showed in his writing. He could also be caustic and funny – such as in the poem embedded below – but inevitably, he was drawn to the moon and the tides.
  3. John Gardiner @ HBW Home Concert "Crossing the Street in Laguna"
  4. John was there the first time I read poetry in public. He remembered me as a skinny goth kid who was equal parts terrified and arrogant, and he still reached out a hand to me anyway. I'll always love him a little for that. Over the years, we'd go on to read in each other's series frequently. He came to Portland with us for the National Poetry Slam Finals, although I don't think he and slam ever fit well together. I read Shakespeare in bookstores and art galleries for him,and enjoyed it as much as I did reading my own work. there are too many great memories, and a few terrible ones, and right now all I wish was that I had a chance to say goodbye. I've been through this enough now to know that you only get that luxury once in awhile.
  5. I was joking earlier that I always expected him to die at the end of a Shakespearean soliloquy, timed just so that no one would realize he was gone for a good 10-15 minutes. I think it's a thought that would have amused him.
  6. The potent poison quite o'ercrows my spirit.
    I cannot live to hear the news from England.
    But I do prophesy the election lights
    On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.
    So tell him, with th' occurrents, more and less,
    Which have solicited. The rest is silence.
  7. Good night, my old friend. You'l be sorely missed.
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