Big Cabin, Ron Padgett 2019

Ron Padgett is a fascinating poet whose work I’ve read before and whose latest book confirms him as a sui generis favorite.  One of the last of the second generation of New York Poets, the 75 year old Padgett divides his time between the East Village in NYC and northern Vermont (though I haven’t been able to nail down what town he lives in!).  This short book of poems contains a 10 page prose essay in the middle entitled Completion,and much of the entire book is about aging and his musings about that condition.  With an ironic sense of humor and a finely honed ability to observe his surroundings, these brief poems charm, tickle, and generate thought, a tough combination but one which he brings off quite successfully.  He recalls friends and relatives who have died, his youth, and the craft of writing poetry in what seems like a continuous internal dialogue sparked by mundane, quotidian scenes—ducks on a pond, his electric heater in the Vermont cabin, writing a poem.  Here’s one of my favorites in this delightful book entitled The Workman:

“I was thinking of what/I was going to say/to the workman/who said he’d be here/around 8,how/to explain how writing/is the thing I do,/the way he saws and hammers,/but now it’s after 9/and he’s still not here,/except in this poem.”

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