Here's an excerpt from David Lehman's recent Publishers Weekly review of Padgett's prize winning collection:
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.
Padgett 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.