Donald Justice’s (1925-2004) early years in Florida during the Great Depression inspired much of his work; one can almost taste in it the languor of tropical warmth and existential indolence. His many retrospective poems have an air of lush immediacy; the particularity of the memories set down are like the “absent flowers abounding” in the final poem featured below. His are tone poems of the stillest of still moments, and the great depth each contains.
Justice was an exceptional craftsman who practiced the art of formal poetry with a light touch. He taught in universities for many years and he also brought the work of two fine poets to the fore: Weldon Kees and Joe Bolton.