If you’ve seen him at Alchemy Coffee’s Tuesday-evening open-mic, you know how Eric Tanner’s smooth and meditative performance style leaves crowds awed and inspired. As a bit of a cult figure in Salt Lake City—especially after the publication of his first full-length book of poems, Rhythms of the Moon—Tanner has turned his love of humanity and passion for words into a catalyst for poetic activism.
Tanner attended Brigham Young University, where he became involved with anti-apartheid activism, as well as President of Response, a student activist group primarily interested in racial issues. He also helped found Student Review, an unofficial student newspaper that became one of Provo’s main alternative voices for 13 years, despite its banishment from BYU campuses. Tanner eventually left BYU to study abroad, and was accepted to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government; however, traveling took center stage as he spent several years wandering around Europe. Living on the streets, Tanner found comfort and enlightenment in the isolation, which Rhythms of the Moon so eloquently expresses. (Becca Maksym)