Sunday, February 18, 2024

Len Anderson (1944 -- 2024)

Len Anderson

LEN ANDERSON (1944 -- 2024)
Len Anderson passed away in his own bed on Mattison Lane in Santa Cruz early Tuesday morning, January 30, tended by his wife, Elke Maus.
Len earned a PhD in physics from UC Berkeley, worked in experimental high-energy physics at Berkeley and in Europe, then switched to industry where he designed sensors for paper-making machines. 

Moving to Santa Cruz in the early 90s, Len developed his talents as a poet, co-founding Poetry Santa Cruz and Hummingbird Press, organizations which sponsored poetry readings, encouraged and published the work of local poets including three books by Len himself: Affection for the Unknowable (2003), Invented by the Night (2011) and The Way Home (2019).

In 1992, Len laid down a memorable mark on the poetry scene with his clever parody of Allen Ginzberg's Howl, the infamous anthem of San Francisco's Beat Generation. Len called his work BEEP crafting it as an anthem of the "BEEP Generation", in which he caricatures the behavior of the programmers and entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley whose efforts gave birth to today's personal computers.

BEEP's opening line

A large part of Len's work deals poetically with spiritual and metaphysical themes. Like myself, Len was for a long time a practicing Roman Catholic.
Invented by the Night    p 28

And next, Len imagines for us a back-alley encounter between Science and Mysticism:
The Way Home   p 42

Modern quantum physics, consciousness and mysticism are not so easy to comprehend. These regions of experience are subtle, obscure, elusive and call out for a correspondingly subtle and sophisticated courtship. One example:
Invented by the Night   p 48
 Philosophically Len Anderson was a passionate agnostic who flirted playfully in public with the boundaries of human knowledge (as per the title of his first book Affection for the Unknowable). And in Len's books and readings he shamelessly reveals himself as a faithful lover of the Great Mystery. For his wife Elke,  his friends and community, and for fellow seekers after the Mysteries, the death of Len Anderson has left a big hole in the fabric of being.

Affection for the Unknowable   p 11

Invented by the Night   p 68




Liz said...

I'm so sorry to hear this! Len was such a joy to hang out with at poetry events all over the Bay Area as well as Santa Cruz. I know so many people will miss him.

He so graciously gave me permission to reprint BEEP and gave me a little stack of the printed version to redistribute!

tandy said...

Thank you for sharing his work. I had never read it...and was uplifted by his writing/thinking/feeling/sensing the mystery.... big breath...