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SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

[Death Shall Be No More]

by Daniel Rifenburgh

It is ironic that death has claimed one so energetic and enthusiastic, so sensitive and humane, so young and so enamored of living and loving, and it is pitiless that one so full of promise of more good works should be taken from us. As Okla was a believer in Christ and poetry, consider these words from a treasured Poet, John Donne: “Death be not proud.../ One short sleep past, we wake eternally/ And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.”


—Comment posted to The Book Haven, Stanford University, in response to Requiescat in pace: poet, novelist, translator Okla Elliott, 1977-2017 (20 March 2017); appears here by author’s permission.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Daniel Rifenburgh

served three years in the US Army during the Vietnam War, working as a military journalist. He received the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America in 1996. His first book, Advent (Waywiser Press, London, 2002), received the Natalie Ornish Award from the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) in 2005. That same year, he was awarded a Dobie Paisano Fellowship from the University of Texas. He was also invited to serve as a workshop instructor and editor on the National Endowment For the Arts Operation Homecoming initiative and the resulting anthology.

In 2013, Mutabilis Press published Isthmus, Rifenburgh’s second collection of poetry. His work has appeared in Paris Review, The New Republic, Southwest Review, New Criterion, and other distinguished journals. After some years of teaching as a college adjunct, he now drives an 18-wheeler flatbed rig, hauling steel out of the Port of Houston.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury