Ivan Allen College faculty member Thomas Lux passed away February 5.
A luminary among poets and poetry teachers, the College was privileged to have Tom’s steadfast presence and dynamic leadership at Georgia Tech since 2001. As the inaugural McEver Visiting Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech, Tom became the Margaret T. and Henry C. Bourne, Jr. Chair in Poetry in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. With a deep understanding and commitment to the spirit of the Bourne and McEver endowments, he set out to ensure that Georgia Tech’s technically-focused students had the opportunity to engage with the great poetry and poets of the world. He often articulated the correlation between poetry and the technical disciplines, explaining that “good poems don’t flow down the arm of the dreamy poet; they are engineered.”
Tom built our Poetry at Tech program to national prominence through, what is today, one of the country’s largest and best-known reading series and through some of the most unique poetry classes taught at a university. He also brought poetry into the Atlanta community through outreach that introduced poetry to prisons, retirement homes, and through partnership with the Positive Atlanta program helping people mired in substance abuse.
“Tom’s passing is a deep loss for the world of poetry, for the Georgia Tech and Ivan Allen College communities, and especially for the many students on campus, in our local community, and beyond to whom Tom introduced poetry and its power to express and evoke the human condition,” said Jacqueline Royster, dean of the College. “His legacy lives on through his prolific works, his clear articulation of poetry’s relevance and importance in a technical age, and the distinctive model for teaching realized through Poetry at Tech.”
Tom’s generosity, ironic humor, and spirit of goodwill will be greatly missed. He is, quite simply, irreplaceable. We are grateful that the work of Poetry at Tech will carry forward through the strong collaboration Tom forged within the program.
Those who are feeling the depth of this loss to our community, may find comfort in an August 2016 interview with Tom by Ivan Allen College Communications. The conversation closed with a question about the meaning of Tom’s most recent book of poems, To the Left of Time.
“Well, what’s the Latin word for left? Sinestre? Bad. Evil. I’m left-handed; the world is built for right-handers. I’m almost 70 years old, so I’m on the wrong side of time. I’m not middle-aged anymore. Do you know many 140-year old guys? I’m on the wrong side of time, and, as I hope the book makes clear, I’m perfectly OK with that.”
We will share notice of arrangements for services when they are available.
Read memorial comments from across the Institute and beyond in the Georgia Tech News Center: http://www.news.gatech.edu/2017/02/07/campus-atlanta-communities-mourn-loss-thomas-lux-director-poetrytech
Read the August 2016 Ivan Allen College Communications interview with Professor Lux here: http://www.iac.gatech.edu/news-events/features/08/2016/thomas-lux-draws-connections-between-poetry-and/167