John Leax (Emeritus)

In his first book of prose, In Season and Out, John Leax wrote about the discipline of being placed, “Having that one place to be [In Christ]—which is no place and every place—frees the Christian from having to be going anywhere but where he is.” Whether he wrote himself into a corner or not with that line, he has remained where he was when he wrote it. For over forty years he has lived in a now hundred-year-old house with his wife, Linda, in Fillmore, New York and taught writing and literature at Houghton College, gardened the same plot of ground, and worshipped with the same body of believers. For ten of those years he also taught at The George Meany Center for Labor Studies. All in all he has enjoyed a wonderfully uneventful life.

The quiet has allowed him to read a lot of books, to fish the Wiscoy Creek, canoe the Genesee River that runs a quarter mile from his house, memorize the nearby wooded ridges, and hike all but a few miles of the trails of Letchworth State Park. Those miles he intends to cover this summer. The fish, these days, he is content to leave in peace. It is enough to know where they hide.

In his books he has explored what he calls a “spiritual” ecology, blending natural history and spiritual autobiography trying to capture a sense of the Creator continuing in creation. His work has on occasion been gently political. On one occasion it led him into a season of civil disobedience and protest. Mostly, however, his work and his life has been contemplative and uncontroversial. A friend and critic once flattered him by likening him to Gilbert White. Should even a line one of his poems endure half as long as White’s little book, he will be shocked and immodestly pleased. He is currently preparing a new collection of poems, Recluse Freedom, for release by WordFarm in 2012 and is nearing the completion of a series of sonnets tentatively titled Memories of Jesus.



Reaching into Silence, Harold Shaw, 1974.
The Task of Adam, Zondervan, 1985.
Country Labors, Zondervan, 1991.
Tabloid News, WordFarm, 2005.


Nightwatch, Zondervan, 1989


In Season and Out, Zondervan, 1985.
Standing Ground: a Story of Faith and Environmentalism, Zondervan, 1991.
Grace is Where I Live: Writing as a Christian Vocation, Baker, 1993.
Out Walking, Baker, 2000.
Grace is Where I Live: The Landscape of Faith and Writing, WordFarm, 2004.