It’s an impossible feat—how can I possibly capture in a paragraph the impact David has had on my life, as a poet, a teacher, a colleague, and a friend?
There are so many dimensions here that I don’t think a Kusama infinity mirror room could catch them all. I will make an attempt here by sharing the first stanza of one of his poems I read as an undergrad at FSU in 1986 in the pages of Poetry:
Alone on a hill above the festival, I listen past field noise
To the single bird not humming
Off the prongs of a metal fork, and twist the keys
Of my guitar, flat then sharper, trying to pull
All loose tension into line, to rest each bronze string
On the one clean level of sound all musicians strive for.
For me, this perfectly crafted last line is like an ars poetica, a conjuration of that secret chord of his ancient namesake—this “one clean level of sound” continues to resonate in me, in all of us lucky enough to know him and his work, for decades now.