I am sad about losing Paul. Paul Violi lived as a good man, while he lived. He was everything you want in a textual mensch. It wasn't what you knew about him, it was what he knew about you. You go someplace poetic, he's there and it's like somebody put a nice sun at the bar for you to go tan at. He gave galloping reading, met with apes and featherless birds once a week if they wanted and smoked. He was going to smile at you, sideways and squinting always squinting from I suppose his congenitally vivid view of time's descending thumb. Grinned at it. Grinned at you. My friend Mary, who I’ve known and snuck through life with since I’m 17, took a course with Paul years ago, and we went together to one of his readings and talked to him after. Then five years ago I started teaching where he was, at the New School, and met him again. You probably knew him better than I did, but I just wanted to say I have a memory of he and I saying a line from “On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer” at each other which we both knew because we both felt the rough of life and also found beauty in it that makes you say “Well shut my mouth,” or instead, “Then felt I like some watcher of the skies when a new planet swims into his ken; or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes he stared at the Pacific and all his men looked at each other with a wild surmise, silent, upon a peak in Darien.” A man doesn’t need to live long, he just needs to have lived standing upon a peak in Darien, which is in Central America, where Balboa (whose name doesn’t scan like buzz buzz Cortez does), led a bunch of European dudes for the first time ever to the Pacific Ocean. Paul Violi saw that ocean, and even sailed it mightily and with great salt. A great turn on the stage of existence. I’d say you’ll be missed but since you are haunting my headspace at the moment that wouldn’t strictly be true. More like I can’t shake you. Traveled continents and realms of gold. I’d have preferred to watch him get old but I’m damn glad we had him. Ah, philosophy fails again. I hate this losing and may even miss some appointments and try having a fit about it. We loved you. It is a heartache to lose old friends. Which goes double for one with such a mind for histories and conversation.