Prolific poet and literary figure Noah Eli Gordon has passed away suddenly at the age of 47, leaving behind an eclectic and inventive body of work influenced by various artistic media.
The news of Noah Eli Gordon’s death was shared first by his mother, Penny Sugar, in a Facebook post from Monday, 11 July.
Gordon is survived by his wife Sommer and daughter Georgia, and by his mother Penny.
As news of the poet’s death broke, heartfelt messages began pouring in from friends, fans and colleagues all over the literary world.
Celebrating Noah Eli Gordon’s life and work
Noah Eli Gordon was born in 1975 in Cleveland, Ohio, and was living in Denver, CO at the time of his death.
He was a prolific published author, with recent titles including Is That the Sound Of A Piano Coming From Several Houses Down? (Solid Objects, 2018) and The Word Kingdom In The Word Kingdom (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015). Gordon’s poetry drew from a number of sources and inspirations he considered formative, including the works of Charles Simic, Ann Lauterbach and Michael Palmer, as well as the vast worlds of music and visual arts.
Gordon’s latest published work, Is That The Sound Of A Piano… draws on significant musical influences.
Gordon (and his work) thrived on collaborations, with notable literary names including Joshua Marie Wilkinson and Sara Veglahn.
He was also an editor and co-publisher of a number of literary magazines, including The Volta and Letter Machine Editions, and director of Subito Press and Braincase Press. Along with his published work, Gordon worked as an assistant professor in the MFA Creative Writing programme at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
On teaching creative writing to undergrads, he believed the most important thing was to “turn his students into avid readers”, who could achieve their own understanding of what a literary work does and how.
Gordon’s own creative process, he told a fellow poet in 2007, involved writing “a lot”.
“I’ve tried everything I can think of to bring a poem into the world: automatic writing; timed writing; making word lists; sketching out detailed charts of specific syntax and filling in the words later on; writing only in public; writing at specific times of day.”
“The really maddening thing about it—and I’m sure this is true for many many poets—is that once you’ve had that breakthrough moment with a particular mode it’s sure not to work the next time,” he added.
Poet Noah Eli Gordon’s death deals a blow to the US literary world
The news of Noah Eli Gordon’s death first broke via Facebook, where his mother, Penny Sugar, shared a brief but heartbreaking message.
“My son Noah Eli Gordon died yesterday,” it read. “It was a terrible tragedy. Please give me time and space to process my grief. Thank you.”
The family has not shared any further information about Gordon’s cause of death, just that it was sudden. The poet is survived by his wife, Sommer, daughter, Georgia, and mom, Penny.
Noah Eli Gordon’s wife, Sommer, was often present in his work and a near-constant source of inspiration. The couple married in Denver after spending a “total of only 19 hours together”, according to his notes on the poem Summer In Winter In Summer, which he wrote for her.
“My wife’s name is Sommer. We were married in winter at a courthouse in Denver after spending a total of only 19 hours together. The following day, at a packed art gallery downtown, I read this poem for her.” So goes the love story between the late poet and his wife.
Help efforts rally around Gordon’s surviving family
In the wake of Noah Eli Gordon’s death, the Denver literary community have rallied around his surviving family in their time of need.
They’ve set up a meal donation drive for Gordon’s wife and daughter, along with a fundraiser to help with their expenses. So far, the community has raised nearly $8,500, more than doubling the initial goal of $4,000.
Additionally, members of the community have signed up to provide the family with meals until at least the beginning of August.
Denver poet’s death rocks literary community
As news of Gordon’s death broke, the US literary world took to social media to pay their respects to the poet’s life and work.
The Focus offers its condolences to the family and friends of poet Noah Eli Gordon at this difficult time.