The Real Paul Jones

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Charles Edward Eaton (1916 – 2006)

Just learned that Charles Edward Eaton has died at age 89. I’ve delighted in Eaton’s poetry for many years. His relaxed formalism and his subject matter which is at once refined and sensual has been not only a joy but a guide. I found his “Work of the Sun” online tonight which while it does not show his favorite form — long relaxed lines rhyming in surprising ways — demonstrates much of his pleasures (and ours).

The first stanza of The Work of the Sun:

Verlaine said the poem slowly rises like the sun,
Spreads over the landscape, a bird that hovers,
Moves on to find and bless a pair of lovers:
The work of the sun is never done.

Charles Edward Eaton Obit in Chapel Hill News.


  1. Charles Edward Eaton was my longtime mentor and very dear friend. He will be sorely missed.
    I loved him deeply.
    Here’s something he wrote to me via letter before he was so ill ~

    Perhaps one day you will have a place in some cathedral,
    A corner, brillant, lit where bees can buzz
    As if they came from everywhere to tend an icon of the fall….

    I’m sure Charles is in Heaven smiling down on us right now. He used to tell me that
    he would pray for “God to smile” on me and my work. Perhaps his prayers have been answered
    for I have just signed two projects (that Charles read and adored) with a wonderful
    literary agent. Today, I made copies of the magnum opus of a cover letter to send him
    so he could rejoice with me. Now I learn that he is in Heaven. Bitter sweet indeed!
    I will miss my Easter card and kind words this year…

    LOVE to you my dearest Friend and Mentor until we meet again ~
    Eileen St. Lauren
    South Mississippi Author living in New England

  2. Mike Miller

    10/13/2006 at 2:36 pm

    I knew him well, and loved him too. He will be missed!

  3. I have a project underway researching grave markers of Southern writers. Does anyone on this website have any information about where Charles Edward Eaton is buried?

    Thank you,
    John Bayne

  4. kregg jorgenson

    7/21/2007 at 10:29 pm

    When a writer, poet and teacher like this dies we all lose something in the passing. His work remains as does the encouraging words and writing friendship he left with those of us who were lucky enough to have studied under him. He will be missed but more than that he will be well remembered and appreciated.

  5. John T. Wilcox

    12/15/2007 at 3:53 pm

    My late wife, Patricia Wilcox, corresponded with Eaton for many years. Their correspondence has been placed in the archives for southern writers (I forget the exact name of that archive) at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

  6. Paul

    12/15/2007 at 6:08 pm

    John, that would be either the Manuscript Collection in the Southern Historical Collection or the North Carolina Collection. Both are in Wilson Library at UNC- Chapel Hill.

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