Jan 132017

Kirby Congdon [Photo by Richard Watherwax]

Book Review by Kirby Congdon…….

Don’t Read This Poetry Book

by Edgardo Alvarado-Vazquez

Key West, Fl: Seastory Press, 2016


ISBN 078-1-936818-36-5

This collection of drawings, obituaries and poems is a compendium, just now published in 2017. The flippant title suggests reticence about being in the public eye. However, as we get into this collection we become more aware of the depth of Mr. Vazquez’s life. There are references to Berlin, to the avantgarde artist, Keith Haring,  to the poet Rilke, to family, the Spanish language and to relationships among close friends who, in the language of poetry, come and go. Illustrations provoke inquiries about their connection to a poem on an adjacent page and become of particular interest as when an opening account of working with a press shows a view of a gigantic machine. The writer provokes trust and confidence in the reader.. As Sheri Lohr, the publisher, says, “Edgardo pencils words and images on paper that  spring from the pages with mouths full of teeth.”

The reader can see a style of writing and a personality that handles both critical and reflective ideas. After twenty-five years of reviewing poetry books for The Small Press Review, this reader noticed a comfortable facility in the use of the English language. We look forward to the continuation of his commitments to the literary life.

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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.
 January 13, 2017  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #201, Kirby Congdon  Add comments

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