Damian Rogers on Elise Partridge


I think the exile of poetry is also the exile of the best of humankind. —Octavio Paz

Why shouldn’t I drift off
like a lost balloon?
But you gave me another gift:
“I’ll carry you in my heart
till my last day on earth.”
—Elise Partridge

One week ago today [February 7], the poet Elise Partridge died. She was 56. In about six weeks, finished copies of her third book, The Exiles’ Gallery, will be printed. It breaks my heart that she wasn’t able to hold one in her hand.

All week I’ve been trying to find a way to write about Elise, to communicate something more substantial than what I could fit into a social media post or official statement. I thought maybe I would write a “last letter” to her, since one of my first thoughts was that I owed her a letter. But it’s too stagey a conceit. I’m not writing to her, I’m writing to you....more