Peter, Coloradan classicist

I first met Peter Saint-André as a neighbor. He worked for Webb Corp, which had an office right next to Fourthought (in the same building). They hired us in 2001 to explore RDF technology in their applications (e-commerce template Web sites and directories). I got to know a lot of their developers, and was especially impressed by the quality of folks Webb had gathered: from Tom Bender to Mike Brown (whom we eventually hired at Fourthought) to Peter.

Webb also served as the incubator for Jabber, and I came to know Peter as "the Jabber guy". I'm not much of an instant messaging user, but even so, I could see that Peter was doing a formidable amount of good work in the Jabber community, and its off- spring in the standards space, XMPP. I recently had a brief e-mail exchange with Peter (I found out he keeps tabs on the Colorado blogging community), and he reminded me that he's a strict classicist. I'm a classicist as well (fairly strict), and I appreciate people who make the considerable effort to reach back to Greek and Latin culture. There's no better way to rear a versatile mind. As if to illustrate this fact, Peter pointed me to his verse. It's pretty good stuff, mostly pleasant translations of Sappho, Horace and others, with some light lyric.

I vowed not to go from better to worse
By writing any of their fine free verse!
I'll take my metrical lines underground
Before I make verse without sense or sound.

Peter Saint-André--from "Moving Violation"

Nice complement to my recent reading of Expansive Poetry ("Essays on the New Narrative and the New Formalism") (see recent Poetry topic entries). I'm not as much of a metrical absolutist as Peter, but I do strongly believe that a poet who cannot write well in form can not write well in free verse. If I had to make a choice in my own reading and writing, I'd give up free verse in an instant.

And it's very interesting to note that Peter is very classicist (and Renaissance) in his attitude towards copyright. Bravo.

[Uche Ogbuji]

via Copia