Feb 032017
 

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

by Kirby Congdon…….

One may wonder if the Beat movement will have had an affect on the poets who followed them. This writer received a new collection from the American poet Jack Veasey with a cover by the literary figure, Ian Young, in Canada. A reader may be curious as to the influence the Beat period may have had on Veasey. It is a pleasure to be able to say that his book is an engaging one, always holding the reader’s attention with both skill and spontaneity. The writing is relaxed and the subjects that the poet selects to write about are, as I say, engaging even when he writes about family tensions. “Mr. Martin” documents the poet’s admiration bordering on a love affair for a high school teacher. Other poems examine the relationship with family members while “The Rabbit’s Funeral” captures the affect of death on a child. Mr. Veasey’s output is easy to read. Barbara Holland, a well recognized poet, remarked that Veasey’s work “comes like a shaft of cold air into a stuffy room?

Veasey answered his critics with this:

How dark
can anything be
that turns a light on
in your head,
no matter what
it lets you see?

Other topics get into the erotic but the frank, unpretentious tone stays on through this collection. I come away from his work with the satisfaction that the beat movement was a positive influence on our academic and commercial inhibitions. It is a comfort to know that talent was not confined to famous reputations. Mr. Veasey’s work includes innumerable poems in this generous book as well as eleven separate collections.

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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 3, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #204, Kirby Congdon  Add comments