I had the happy chance to review Ron Padgett's Collected Poems (Coffee House Press) for Publishers Weekly. Here are my first two grafs and a link to the rest. -- DL
Long a mainstay of the New York School’s second generation, Ron Padgett—the self-styled “Tulsa Kid,” as the title of one of his books has it—left Oklahoma to attend Columbia University and become a big city poet. He studied with Kenneth Koch, met Frank O’Hara, made the pilgrimage to Paris, read and translated Reverdy, Apollinaire, Cendrars. From the start his poems had a joyous nonchalance about them—the Renaissance term for it is sprezzatura. Five decades fuel his Collected Poems, a tome teeming with Padgett’s trademark traits: comic energy, good humor, alert intelligence, constant curiosity, and the determination to put it all into poems.
is prolific, buoyant, confident that the day will yield its poem,
nothing forced. He has written affecting memoirs of Ted Berrigan and Joe
Brainard, two close friends from Tulsa days. His Collected highlights
an array of New York School
strategies. But though he mentions his wife and friends in poems, even
ending a poem with the phone number of one of them (Larry Fagin),
Padgett’s poems are not crowded with people and events in the O’Hara
manner. If there is a consistency of purpose it is Padgett’s devotion to
an esthetic path, his trust in the imagination and the associative
logic that powers it. In “My Room” the logic leads quite naturally (and
hilariously) from a lamp that Ted Berrigan once took from a hotel room
to the value of studying Latin.