Feb 042018
 

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

by Kirby Congdon…….

Editors often put their best material near the front of their productions to catch the attention that is most worth it. Was this happening in the current Blue Collar Review? The poem on page 2, “Jackie Kennedy’s Hats” by Robert Cooperman out there in Denver is clear and memorable.

When Jackie loses her hat as the President is shot, the poet’s father, a hat maker, responds, “There goes my business.” The poem ends this way:

“…Dad couldn’t help but love Kennedy’s beautiful wife,
then widow, but never trusted her again.”

That is funny and sad as well as important. The editor, Al Markovitz, shows us that the difficulties in being hard up through circumstances beyond our control don’t always depend on personal hardship. Larger events can be emotionally subtle, like the actions of government figures we have voted into office who go astray when so many of us rely on their behaving well.

Mary Franke brings us more work on dealing with stress. She describes in detail how I feel at transportation centers: lost! Let me quote her last stanza:

The sun does not love us
like it did
like we think it did.

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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.
 February 4, 2018  Posted by at 12:53 am Issue #254, Kirby Congdon  Add comments