In Memoriam

Jake Adam York (1972-2012) and Superman

by Posted on December 17th, 2012 at 11:41 am

Yesterday poet Jake Adam York passed away after suffering a stroke. I didn’t know him. Like many, though, I read his poetry in the magazines. (I also remember seeing him introduce Michael Chabon at the Denver AWP Conference two years ago.)

I probably knew his work less than most in the literary world (if there is such a thing)—but after hearing of his passing yesterday evening from my wife, from Facebook of all places, I came across his latest publication “Self-Portrait as Superman (Alternate Take)” in the new issue of New England Review. Though it was only just published, I somehow couldn’t believe I hadn’t read it earlier.

My heartfelt condolences to family, friends, and fans of York. Below is the open-throttled beginning of “Self-Portrait as Superman (Alternate Take)”—read the complete thing at the NER website:

At twenty-four frames per second, sixty seconds is two hundred
feet of film you’ll never see: Christopher Reeve
ready to become mild-mannered Clark Kent—sharp

trilby and blue chalk-pinstripe suit—
once they call Action, the Who-me smile fading
to bit-lip circumspection, cover story and secret,

hand on the button-down’s placket, ready to pull
the buttons from their eyes, peel
the rough-hewn cotton from the ancient crest, the S

that curves like a river between the mountains,
a snake curled inside a chest, invulnerable aorta
of Kal-El’s dense alien body, gone spectacular…

Read the rest. And listen to an audio recording of York reading an earlier draft of the poem for the Kenyon Review this past summer.