SMU professor and poet Jack Myers, who co-founded the Writer’s Garret in East Dallas, died last week at 67. He and his wife, Thea Temple, started the Writer’s Garret, a literary society, in 1994. As a teacher, Myers influenced the work of writers in Dallas and all over Texas.

Myers taught writers to stop taking themselves so seriously, Temple says. He liked to quote the Buddhist saying, "The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon itself." Writers explain things, but they shouldn’t be self important because of it, Temple says.

"We want writers to take literature seriously, but not themselves," she says.

"Famous" poet Naomi Shihab Nye says she met Myers over 30 years ago.

"I remember being captivated by his voice and wanting to read anything he wrote," she says.

Myers was funny, and he defied stereotypes of what a poet is, Nye says. His poetry has a certain rhythm, which she thinks came from working in construction when he was young.

"I always could trust that I could open his books and find a poem that spoke to me at that moment," she says. 

Nye says she feels an acute need to get people to read Myers’s work now that he’s gone. "In fact, that gives me a good idea," she says. "I’m going to order a bunch of his books and give them as holiday gifts."

There will be a memorial service for Myers at SMU after the first of the year.

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