This was a hard day in Springfield, and indeed across the country as those touched by Jane Hoogestraat and her poetry have to deal with her death. Jane was a tremendous mentor and very good friend to me, one that I think taught me much about friendship and even more about compassion. She was the best of mentors for my teaching life and for my poetry, apparently having a deep well of patience and a great deal of incisive editing ability. I don’t know how I’m going to accept Jane’s death. I know I must, and I know it is very selfish of me to wish she could go on when her time is done. I must think about what she would want me to do. There is so much left to do, so many poems yet to write and it just kills me that she won’t be writing them too.
This, then, is to the other poets, many of them young but not all, who are doing what they do in large part because of “Dr. Jane.” Here is what I think she would want us to do. Keep writing. Be fierce in your ambition and dedication to this life as a poet. Don’t stop. Don’t ever stop. Band together and help each other be the best poets you can be. Be kind. Listen more, and know that the energy you give helping others with their writing only turns into more energy for your own writing. Write with honesty and take great pains with each image, each turn in the precise narrative. In the end, it is the best thing, possibly the only thing we can do that reaches beyond self.