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The poem dedicated to my wife Kathy


Now I make footnotes on old dirty jokes
WD Snodgrass Poet
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I did a poem about packing up my… my best lute and putting it away and feeling badly about that, but I can't play it anymore, so there… there's no use. A lot of poems about Kathy, some of them funny — all of them a little funny, I think — sort of flirting with her through the poem. I… let's see. There's one that I like about our neighbor kids here — farm kids — there's a… one about fast foods. And usually I don't write about that kind of, you know, subject that you would… you would expect to find either in a health magazine or in a women's magazine or something like that. But the… I call it a… a rap rondo. A rap rondeau, rather… you know, a rondo's a musical form but a rondeau is a french poetry form where you have only two rhymes in the whole thing. It's 16 lines long, only two rhymes. You've got… however, the first half line has to be repeated twice in the poem at the end of the sec… stanzas. It's also the only poem in the world that has managed to get the name Simone Weil and the word 'fucking' in the same line. I don't know; there's one… one based on a poem, a painting of Del's called WD Chasing Fireflies. So I have one about chasing fireflies and trying to catch fireflies. A lot of them are full of jokes now. I think in general that as the sort of high rhetoric and… and sense of elevation and stuff like that has gone out of poetry, what has come in tends to be a kind of comedy — Jim Tate, certainly. But in general, a lot of these poems… well, where I used to have to make footnotes on things like Greek gods or stuff of that sort, now I have to make footnotes on old dirty jokes that people have forgotten. There's one about finding a… a dead cat in our ceiling here.

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: WD Chasing Fireflies, Simone Weil, DeLoss McGraw, Jim Tate

Duration: 2 minutes, 54 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008