Robert Lax was born on this day in 1915 in Olean, in the Southern Tier region of New York.
Lax studied poetry with Mark Van Doren at Columbia University and graduated in 1938, right before Jack Kerouac arrived on campus. Similarly, they both took on a life of wandering. Lax worked for some prestigious magazines — The New Yorker and Time — and then joined the circus as a juggler.
Eventually, he found his way to the Greek island of Patmos. The island is known as a place of pilgrimage, as the apostle John had lived there. Lax himself went on to live here for more than thirty years, living the life of a hermit and writing beautiful poetry.
Kerouac indeed did end up getting in contact with his fellow alum. You can read his letter to him in Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters, 1940-1956.