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Reading Fast Foods: a Rap Rondeau


Reading Farm Kids
WD Snodgrass Poet
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This is called Farm Kids.


Our neighbor's slim rag doll of a daughter (not,

we're told, of his own getting) breathed out: "You've got

so many cookbooks!" - each eye a startled O

as it skimmed our kitchen shelves - "And so

much food!" Later, straight-faced, she said her mother

lives now with her new boyfriend in another

county. Hard up for farm jobs, her "Dad" has to drive

60 miles to the factory, getting up at 5

AM to leave them where his folks watch them

until he gets back home - sometimes 5 PM.


We go for long walks every evening. If we pass

their trailer, they all tumble out shouting, "Snodgrass!

Snodgrass!" The slim, straight-faced one is thought slow

by her teachers. There's much she'd do well not to know.

The cool offspring of our city friends are driven

to special schools, sports dates, parties, given

phones, computers, cars, the insatiate stuff

that will guarantee they can't ever get enough.

Our neighbors' less keen hungers and kinder drives

make sure they'll make nothing of their lives but lives.

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: Farm Kids

Duration: 1 minute, 56 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008