Mark Johnson Cole loves the poetry of T.S. Eliot. And he loves his state of Texas. And while undoubtedly many Texas share a love of Eliot’s poetry, Cole may have done something unique. He married Eliot’s Four Quartets and Texas history and current events to create Four Texas Quartets. In a time when poetry is being revitalized on Instagram, when novels are being written in poetic form, and collections and even Poetry Magazine often mash up poetry with art and photographs, Four Texas Quartets is a creative standout.
A native Oklahoman but reared in Texas and currently living near Houston, Cole holds seven degrees. He’s been a working attorney and a local government official. He studied German and then philosophy in graduate school. He studied law and theology in New England, Germany, Liechtenstein, London, and the Midwest.
Over time, he says, he discovered that philosophy was becoming less personally important and poetry becoming more so. He discovered the poetry and prose of Eliot and the importance of “his thought in the history of the culture of the West.” And from there he began to study writers like John Graves, Wendell Berry, J. Frank Dobie, and Larry McMurtry.
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