After leaving St Albert’s Dominican Priory, a Catholic monastery in Oakland, California, where he had practiced as a lay monk, poet, and spiritual counselor, under the name “Brother Antoninus” for 18 years, William Everson disrobed himself of his religious habit after an electrifying reading at the University of California at Davis (UCD) campus and donned the mantle of a traditional Native American buckskin vest and Lakota bear claw necklace, and when I took his celebrated course, “Birth of a Poet,” in 1979 at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), this is the way I first experienced him: a poet-shaman. It was Everson’s humility, I believe, as a post-Christian monk that enabled him to wear this sacred mantle with an attitude of reverence, an attitude of modesty.
I say this in my opening statement of this entry because it is important to provide for the reader a sense of the poet’s presencewhen I knew him. By the time I set eyes on him, Everson had already gone through two...
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