May 262017

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

by Kirby Congdon…….

Donald Trump’s reference to the age of the dictator of North Korea, Kim Yong Un, came as a surprise. To be 27 with all that power is revealing for both of them. Love and affection seem to have been denied them in their early development as human beings. The thrill of saying, “You’re fired!” or in executing an annoying uncle replaces the attention and independence they feel they have missed out on. Other more rational ways to be recognized and appreciated is to exploit an inborn talent or calling. Sharing it shows it off. If you have no particular talent then one can learn a skill, whether it is juggling or in being outstanding in some sport. Other solutions are to be a good citizen, a soldier who is gung-ho, a disciple of someone you admire, or just by being very obedient. You assert yourself by manipulating your progress by self-discipline The reverse of this is to discipline others. Have you noticed the extreme use of the body that soldiers who are marching display in North Korea? There is no grace or efficiency. It is a form of acrobatics that approaches the inhumane, like some kind of wind-up mechanical doll.

Destructive behavior ultimately destroys the destroyer. We can see this so easily in the refusal of the North Korean dictator to compromise, or communicate rationally. He is unable to break through his own iron armor that he has dressed himself up in because he has no other identity. We build prisons not to get even so much but more because an inmate is no longer able to grow out of his neglect and develop as a human being. Development is beyond his reach, the problem being too deep and complex to swim or climb out of, especially without that help that was most important when it was most needed.

The vulgar aggressiveness or deliberate alienation of people is probably rooted in one’s own feeling of neglect from the outside or in a feeling of incompetence within ourselves. That root cause can also be seated within an injury to our egoes that has never healed as it continues to bleed through the squeaking layers of our defensive armor.

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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.
 May 26, 2017  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #220, Kirby Congdon  Add comments

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