[MGSA-L] Edmund (Mike) Keeley

Dimitri H. Gondicas gondicas at princeton.edu
Wed Feb 23 09:16:20 PST 2022

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies

Dear colleagues and friends,

With profound sadness, I am writing to let you know that Edmund (Mike) Keeley passed away this morning. He was 94.

Mike Keeley's legacy is immense, diverse, far-reaching and lasting.  Preeminent scholar and translator of modern Greek literature, Mike was one of the founding fathers of the MGSA and its first President.  Mike Keeley founded and led Princeton's Creative Writing program for many years.  As President of the PEN American Center, Mike was a champion of writers' rights around the world.

At Princeton, Mike Keeley was a founder and pillar of Hellenic Studies, ever since we launched our journey in 1979.  Without Mike, we wouldn't be where we are today.  For all of us in Hellenic Studies who had the privilege to know him, Mike was our teacher, mentor, colleague, comrade in all things Greek, fellow traveler all over Greece, and steadfast friend.  Until his last hours, Mike kept asking about Hellenic Studies and our plans for the future.

We are working on an obituary and other arrangements to remember and honor Mike Keeley's life and legacy.

Mike was very happy to share with the world his last poem, "Daylight," chosen by the "Hudson Review" for their holiday card 2022:


by Edmund Keeley

Our plague has various names
None as blunt as the Black Death
Of the Middle Ages yet still as dark
Unless you can somehow believe that light
>From a flash of final recognition
Or anticipated otherworldly dawn
Will always arrive before the end
To mute the horror of so much dying
And your own waiting for what might come.
So why wait any longer,
Why not leave it all to Nemesis
And take a long walk outside
In whatever direction holds the prospect
Of your recovering things to remember
>From those lighter years in open spaces
That shore beside an endless sea
The white mornings to lie in wonder
After the beautiful dark passages
Of nightlong loving and the dividends
Of having held another beyond
Any belief that it could possibly end.

In sorrow for our loss, but also in celebration and gratitude for Mike's life, his friendship and his gifts to our Hellenic Studies community,

With kind wishes to all,

Dimitri Gondicas

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