by Ed Cox
Ed Cox (1946-1992) was a native Washingtonian who spent all but four of his 46 years here in the area. A vibrant part of the local literary scene, he was also an important member of Washington's gay community, and his poems, so strongly influenced by gay liberation, are also classics of gay literature. Ed Cox was many things: Irish, a Navy veteran, a political activist, and a teacher who led classes at senior centers, homes for battered women, and other unorthodox places. He edited two books of his students' writing: Seeds and Leaves(1977) and Some Lives(1984).
Review in Oyster Bay Review
Article in Beltway: A Poetry Quarterly
Ed's poems appeared in Calvert Review, December, Diana's Bi-Monthly, Fag Rag, Gargoyle, Gay People's News, Gay Sunshine, Hanging Loose, Interchange, Mass Transit, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pellet, Phoebe, Salt Lick, Sewanee Review, Takoma, the Washington Post, Washington Review, Washout Quarterly, and Writer's Digest, and in the anthologies: Angels of the Lyre: A Gay Poetry Anthology; None of the Above, and Orgasms of Light: The Gay Sunshine Anthology.
In 1989 Ed was awarded the Lyndhurst Prize, a sustaining grant that supported his work through 1991. His early death in 1992 before publication of his magnum opus, Part of was tragedy on a grand scale. This volume reprints Ed's two published books, Blocks (1972) and Waking(1977), includes "These Two" a long poem about his parents, and finally puts the unpublished manuscript he spent so many years assembling into print.
"When a true poet sees and names man's inhumanity to man, he or she also must name the unlimited love, the compassion for others, which can and must be awakened to right this fallen world. This is no mean task, and Ed Cox knew it. His work, founded in the resonant particulars of his own experience, elates and empowers, provides hope and solace, while naming the demons that attempt to ruin us. His poems are among the most humane American in their generosity of spirit; universal in their wisdom." Jeffery Beam
"In the poetry of Ed Cox we are double blessed; the truth of
art meets the truth of the heart. How rare it is, in the age of rarefied
poets and their academic exercises, to meet face to face an artist
who is in love! Whose poetry, to paraphrase the song, is the celebration
of his love. Whose work, in consequence, is more than a job. So much
more. We are left to admire those the poet admires. And thereby we
are ennobled; and enabled even to celebrate, to learn the gentle
uses of love in a loveless time."
"Ed Cox is interested in Making a Difference, through act and through poetry (which for him, is act). His work clarifies for us much that is opaque and dizzying in this most complex of times. Gwendolyn Brooks
"The poetry of Ed Cox invites the reader to share with him a literary horizon of complex relationships perceived with kindly precision and, at the same time, locked into a virtually cubistic unity." Rudd Fleming, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland
"There was no voice in 20th Century American poetry like that of Ed Cox. It's deceptively familiar, but look closer: it is unique. He died too young, but the quiet flame at the heart of his work still burns." Michael Lally
"For years I've loved Ed Cox's honest, clear-eyed poems for the hard, stark lyricism that is their considerable beauty. These poems, collected now nine years after his death, evidence a remarkable, lasting achievement. Who else could speak as Ed Cox does, in a way that's at once so wounded and rejoicing? Who else could see the world with such deep love, while regarding it so unsparingly?" Richard McCann
"I miss Ed. This book restores my faith in the power of language. Is it possible my friend is still across the street writing? Dear God, I am grateful these poems continue to breathe." E. Ethelbert Miller, Director, Afro-American Resource Center, Howard University
"Ed Cox writes with such particularity about himself and what he feels that many of us will be startled to recognize the myths of our own lives among these poems." Ron Schreiber
"Ed Cox's poems are spare and unpretentious. That is not to say they are not deeply powerful and accomplished works. The poems are lean, taut, emotional, as was he. They are direct, mundane, yet full of mystery. Ed Cox is a very urban poet, but his poems are also rich in attentiveness to the natural world. He is always in perfect technical control of the language and rhythm of his work. His unexpected, untimely death at age 46 in 1992 silenced one of the literary world's unique voices. This first edition of Cox's collected works helps restore the hidden music he heard so clearly." Terence Winch