Mar 242017
 

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

by Kirby Congdon…….

Does the reader of these words have a box of photographs he can’t get rid of? Aunt Mildred’s graduation, from whatever it was, can however be more than just a document. You can’t clean house and throw her out. It’s a part of your life, too. And what about your brother’s stamp collection that he took years to assemble? That is part of his life as well. As a friend reminded me, even a family full of human beings is a collection of references you didn’t put together yourself. Our lives are full of casual connections that have a deep meaning for ourselves because they help define us, as our own concern for others helps them feel relevant, too. Over time we all walk in the direction to where we want to go. Sometimes we run instead. This writer’s current task of archiving 70 years of literary work, as his body plods along, makes him think, while his mind races through decades, how to be in control. “Remember now,” he reminds himself, “to look both ways before you cross the street. The traffic is heavy. Be careful and don’t let go of that trapeze before you get to the other side.” The sense of gravity along with a sense of balance both help us get there but we know the safety net of caution that hangs beneath us can’t always be an imaginary one.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
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.


 March 24, 2017  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #211, Kirby Congdon  Add comments