Oct 282016
Key West Poet Laureate Kirby Congdon (Photo by Richard Watherwax)

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

by Kirby Congdon…….

Al Markovitz and Mary Franke have produced the Summer 2016 issue of their Blue Collar Review Journal of Progressive Working Class Literature with a drawing on its cover. Two men on their knees are giving attention to a third lying on his back. The suggestion of the front grill of a car is indicated but no other explanations are given beyond the drama itself. Like the poems inside we see into the lives of some four dozen poets that provide a cimate for work that wrestles with conflict, assertions and inquiries that are provocative and alive covering every subject from “I have been used” (from Jay Frankston’s “Yesterday’s Hero” out there in California to critical political positions in contemporary life. One poet, Robert Edwards, advertises his collection of work. Alice E. Rogoff finishes a documentary suggesting women’s rights,with two lines: “Now most bartenders are women” and adds the second line with an ambiguous date that is twenty years later. “Where did the bar go?” A photograph of a tent city lies under Gary Beck’s lines illustrating the ironic conclusion to his poem.

in the land of plenty
where there’s never enough
for everyone.

The overall impression is that all these contributors are familiar with the art of poetry and do not want to waste their energy on easy platitudes and painless comforts that can fit into academic or commercial outlets.

This issue is priced at $7.00 A check for $15.00 with your poem permits a contributor to enter a working People’s Poetry Competition with a deadline of May 1st 2017. First prize is $100.00 from Partisan Press, at P.O Box 11417, Norfolk, VA, Zip 23517. Mr. Markowitz and Miss Franke have been providing a not for profit service for their contributors for a number of years.

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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.
 October 28, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #190, Kirby Congdon  Add comments

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