Apr 062018

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

By Kirby Congdon……


I press each foot’s print in,

this beach made with stone and bone,

clean and firm,

beneath my feet

and, so, design,

with neat resolve,

hard topographies

from this shiftless land

which oceans, also,

rising, would complete

with neither eye nor hand

returning worlds, dissolved,

with an easy disregard,

into smooth, unmarked,

and, once more, unmarred

obliterations of sand.

That landscape’s script

has no language to translate.

Our body’s trace is gone.

Our lives are anonymous

when endless oceans

neither feel nor think.

Yet we ambulate

with head held high,

through a nameless waste,

while the mind’s eye

and all its words,

define a world,

as, out of time,

we find our place

wirh its meaning shared

in a name that’s only ours

within that endless sea

far beyond the nameless numbers

of all those countless stars.


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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.
 April 6, 2018  Posted by at 12:04 am News  Add comments

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