Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Remembering the Poet FL Light

I never met F. L. Light. I would not say that I know him well or that he played a major role in my life. But yesterday I found out that he had died nearly a year ago, and I am sorry. I feel that I will miss him. In fact, I've been missing him for about a year. I just didn't know he was gone for good. Here is his obituary.


The only photos of him that I have seen show him in sharp profile, wearing a baseball cap.

It's not always the same baseball cap and the background varies.

Light first came to my attention when he began submitting poetry to the Inverted-A Horn in the 1990s. At the time, my father was editor-in-chief. We had very strict standards for metrical poetry, and F. L. Light met them.  I felt at the time that his vocabulary was unusual, as he preferred archaic and rarely used words to common vocabulary items. His syntax was also a little archaic. His sentences were not always SVO.

In Horn #11, which came out January 7. 1993 we published two of F. L. Light's poems, both of them about Bernhard Goetz. The poems were metrical and fit in with our philosophy and worldview, but the vocabulary Light chose to use required us to publish a glossary. For years after that, the word "latrociny" would pop into my head at odd moments, and I could barely restrain myself from using it in ordinary conversation.

We did not know anything about F. L. Light, except that he lived in New York and sent his poetry submissions in on used sheets of paper that had other things completely unrelated printed on the other side. At times I speculated that he was homeless or very poor, but sometimes I thought that he was very wealthy and worked as a stockbroker by day. I think it was what was on the other side of some of the poems that made me think that.

It was only years later that I realized he had been educated in the Classics and could translate Greek to English. Here is a link to an interview with Light that I published on PubWages.


Light gave the impression of a solitary person who was interested primarily in his own poetry and secondarily in free enterprise and the worship of ancient gods. Some of his letters to the editor at the Inverted-A Horn contained unexpected praise for Zeus. Sometimes we laughed when we read his letters, but we always published them, anyway.

I did not understand in the 1990s how involved and interested in many aspects of the real world F.L. Light actually was. He seemed caught in a time warp, living in a world all his own. But after my father's death, he began an email correspondence with me, and some of the things he wrote showed he was much more observant and thoughtful than I had previously believed.

Here is an email he sent me in 2008:

 Sat Jun  7 12:04:41 2008
During the last year I read *The Chimps of Gombe, *by Jane Goodall, works by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, who has studied for the last decade the bonobos chimps,and books by a Dutchman named Waal or de Waal. Thus I have written a numberof aphoristic couplets on chimpanzees and will send some as an attachment tothis email.
I have seen chimpanzees pointing to lexigrams on monitors. Their speed is somewhat astounding.
Bow's attachment to you reminds me of Flint's to his mother Flo, which isdisplayed in a video with Jane Goodall as the narrator. It is presented in 3or 4 parts, each about twenty minutes.I found it through Dogpile.com, butGoogle should have the link.
Your answer to my letter on fanatics is quite well-reasoned, reasonable enough for me to accept. I am a member of the solopassion.com site, which is a forum for those who favor the principles of Ayn Rand. There are promotions in this site I disavow, not caring for all their passions, especially the unnatural ones.  They might wish to read your description of a rational fanatic, as  most of their ideas are grounded on rational objectivism.
http://theeleutherian.blogspot.com is one of my sites

*F L Light*

In time, F.L. Light reviewed three of my novels on Amazon. Here is his review of Vacuum County.


We were friends on Facebook. I was one of nine people who were friends with him on Facebook. The last time he posted there was on Feb. 6, 2016. His obituary says that he died on March 4, 2016. But the memorial service was not held until May 17. His obituary does not mention that he is survived by anyone, and he is said to have died in his residence. I cannot help but wonder if he died alone and was found two months later. 

I recently noticed that of his many works available on Amazon, the books that were in print are no longer in print, though available in second hand form. But the Kindle and Audible versions are still available. Does he have a literary executor, I wonder? What becomes of the books of Createspace authors who have died intestate? Does Createspace, which treats our royalties as "earned income", just assume that we stop earning the moment we draw our last breath?

Here at my house, FL Light is not forgotten. Just this morning, Bow and I read some couplets from Shakespeare versus Keynes.

If you know FL Light and want to share some memories about him, please comment. I would love to learn more.


  1. I am sorry to hear about FL Light passing. He seemed very knowledgeable about the classics.