Aug 182017
 

Key West Poet Laureate Kirby Congdon (Photo by Richard Watherwax)

by Kirby Congdon…….

This past Sunday, August 13th (2017) Eric Bennett, in the New York Times Book Review, considers The World Broke in Two. Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, and the Year That Changed Literature by Bill Goldstein. The breakage suggested in the title refers to the end of rewriting the work of historic writers, translating it into contemporary language, and reconciling their own personal crises with their own creative lives. Mr. Bennett’s remarks end with this strange conclusion: The homage Goldstein pays them may be shallow but it is entirely full of life. There is also an earlier remark in reference to Lawrence and Woolf. They shared, as Eliot did, the frustrating conundrum that Forster had described but had too long been unable to escape: always working, never creating.

These are provocative statements but not ones I can attempt explicate. It makes me wonder is a good book meant to be entertaining or is it a serious study?Perhaps this is why most people avoid poetry.

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Kirby Congdon

Kirby Congdon found his calling in the time of the Beat Movement, his poems being published by the New York Times, The New York Herald Tribune and the Christian Science Monitor as well as countless small-press outlets. While influenced by the assertive stance of a new generation in literature, he preferred to set aside the spontaneous approach of his friends and use his work as an exploratory tool in establishing the new identity of his times as well as that of his own maturation. This search was incorporated in 300 works which were compiled in a bibliography by a Dean of the English Department at Long Island University in his retirement and made available in hard-back with an extensive addenda by the literary activists of Presa Press through their skills achieved from the University of Michigan and their own experience which commands a movement in itself of contemporary literary action.


Congdon’s work in poetry covers innumerable treatments of countless subjects in single poems, long treatments on a subject, and many collections of both serious thought and imagination through not only the poetry but through essays, plays and ruminations. Named the first poet laureate of Key West, he received a standing ovation for his reading honoring this position and was the featured poet in a festival celebrating Frank O’Hara in the New York region. He was also asked to read his work as well as give a talk on the country’s national poet laureate, Richard Wilbur, at a seminar honoring that man. Currently, Congdon is working on an autobiography and a collection of complete poems.


 August 18, 2017  Posted by at 12:28 am Issue #232, Kirby Congdon  Add comments