“To this world so beautiful that I long to stay forever.”
Thus begins “The Alphabet of Longing and Other Poems,” James Tipton’s latest – and last – published book of poetry, edited and published by lakeside poet Margaret Van Every.
During his 13 years at lakeside, Tipton was a well-known presence, not only for his poetry and short stories, but his gentleness, kindness and enduring love for family, friends – and women.
After a lengthy struggle with cancer, Tipton died on the morning of May 16 at age 76.
During an interview on May 9, he admitted that although morphine was managing to keep his pain at bay, he would have rather been without it, since it created “strange hallucinatory flashes and a kind of haze.”
“I’m not a drug user, never was,” said Tipton. “My inspiration has come from women and nature.”
Although he had struggled with cancer since 2004, his symptoms have started intensifying during the last four years, as the cancer metastasized. Through it all, he continued to write, describing in his uniquely poetic way the looming face of death creeping ever so closer.