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Stewart Lupton was a prototypical poet laureate. He wore corduroy smoking jackets with leather elbow pads and spoke in the slow, low, non-southern drawl of the deep thinker that he was. Stewart brought gravitas and his extensive knowledge of the poetry canon to our PB crüe. He would call his group to order, talk about the history and context of his poet of the week, T.S. Eliot, Rainer Maria Rilke, Walt Whitman, W.S. Merwin, Elizabeth Bishop and others, and then read to us in his sonorous basso voice. We were enraptured, riding along on his every syllable, reflecting on the impact and sometimes writing our own responses to the work.
Painted Brain’s community learned this week that Stewart, the incredible man, and poet, an active contributor to the community, passed away over the Memorial Day weekend. Stewart had not been involved in our activities at Painted Brain for the past several months as he was dealing with worsening personal issues related to his mental health. Prior to this, Stewart ran a weekly poetry group at Painted Brain for more than a year every Monday afternoon. It was one of our best-attended activities. His profundity and depth allowed us all to escape our day-to-day existence and join in the love and appreciation of the artists he brought to our attention.
Our hearts and minds reach out in support of Stewart’s family and friends, and we celebrate his legacy at Painted Brain with every poetry reading we do. We already miss him dearly.