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The mismatch of my parent's families


My father: the iceman millionaire
WD Snodgrass Poet
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My father was an accountant. I... I was actually born in Beaver Falls, which is about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh, is a small industrial city, you know, up... up one of the rivers that flow down to... into the Ohio and... I was born there because his father was a... was a physician in the... in the hospital but then we moved for two years to live in a... a very slummy area of Pittsburgh called Wilkinsburg and, you know, he was... he was rather hard up. He put himself through college shooting pool and... he was pretty tough and a macho kind of guy. He was also very tall and handsome… slender … and as he grows up in the world he became an accountant and then when he could he moved back to Beaver Falls, and he lived there and he would... catch a train every morning to go to Pittsburgh — to his office — and then later he had his own office there and... and came to be doing quite well. As a matter of fact, to my utter astonishment, I was later told my... by my brother that at one time he became a millionaire, and that was at a time when a millionaire was a millionaire, you know. He... he..., as I think I may have told you at some time, he had been an ice man; you know, they carry these great blocks of ice on... on their back and deliver them to people's houses and a number of times the tongs had slipped off the ice thing and caught him in the face, so he’d had... he’d had badly broken cartilage inside his nose and stuff like that, that later gave him a lot of pain.

American poet WD Snodgrass, entered the world of poetry with a bang winning several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, for his first collection of poetry, Heart's Needle. A backlash followed his controversial fifth anthology “The Fuehrer Bunker”, but in recent years these poems have been reassessed and their importance recognised.

Listeners: William B. Patrick

William B. Patrick is a writer and poet who lives in Troy, New York. Among his work are the poetry volumes "We Didn't Come Here for This" and "These Upraised Hands", the novel "Roxa: Voices of the Culver Family" and the plays "Rescue" and "Rachel's Dinner". His most recent work is the non-fiction book "Saving Troy", based on the year he spent following the Troy Fire Department.

Mr. Patrick has been Writer-in-Residence at the New York State Writers Institute and has taught at Old Dominion University, Onondaga Community College, and Salem State College, and workshops in Screenwriting and Playwriting at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference in Roanoke, Virginia. He has received grants from the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

Tags: Beaver Falls, Pittsburgh, Ohio River, Wilkinsburg

Duration: 1 minute, 45 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008