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John Beer and Michael McGregor discuss the work of Robert Lax

by Michael Shareshian, Literary Arts intern

On Wednesday, December 10th, Literary Arts hosted  readings and a panel discussion featuring authors Michael McGregor and John Beer.  Both authors were associates of the great poet Robert Lax.  Nearing what would have been Mr. Lax’s 100th birthday, the evening was filled with his poetry and touching stories of an extraordinary man.

Michael McGregor read from his latest book, Pure Act:  The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax.  Through his readings, the audience learned how Lax “embraced poverty as a lifestyle” and welcomed an array of experiences such as teaching English, living in Greece, and traveling with a circus as a clown.  John Beer, who edited a book of poetry of Lax’s work in 2013, offered his expertise in reading Lax’s work to an eager crowd.

Following the readings, Paul Martone, the director of Late Night Library, moderated a panel discussion featuring the two authors.  We learned how Mr. McGregor helped pack boxes for Lax in Greece in 1985 and how the poet was “really uninterested in living a life that was dictated.”  Commenting on why Lax, a devout Catholic, never become a monk, Mr. Beer stated that vows of poverty and chastity weren’t a problem; it was the vow of obedience that stood in his way.

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