The "Collected Poems" of Ron Padgett
On this installment of ST, we are pleased to welcome Ron Padgett back to our show. This Tulsa-born, New York-based poet, translator, and editor published his "Collected Poems" last fall, and he'll be reading from that book at 7pm tonight (Tuesday the 1st) at the AHHA / Hardesty Arts Center in downtown Tulsa; this event is co-presented by Book Smart Tulsa, Louder Than A Bomb: Tulsa, and This Land Press, and it's free to the public. An impressively vast (at more than 800 pages) and stylistically wide-ranging gathering of verse --- spanning some 50 years of writing --- Padgett's "Collected Poems" (not surprisingly) has been getting some glowing reviews. Thus the poet/critic David Lehman wrote in Publishers Weekly: "Five decades fuel [this] '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.... But this exemplar of the gloriously zany, this champion of comic-book characters, turns out also to be a fount of wisdom and good sense." Padgett's hefty masterwork has also been named as a Finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize --- and, more recently, it was given the prestigious William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. In the announcement accompanying this prize, the poet Thomas Lux noted: "Although it wasn't a requirement for this award, I can think of no other poet I've read over the past 40 years who embodies Williams's spirit and his great heart's aesthetic. Ron Padgett loves life so much, he finds the stuff of poetry everywhere. I mean everywhere. His most serious poems are playful, and his most playful poems are serious. He's mischievous! I wish there was a way to cash in on a bet posthumously, because I'm willing to put money on Padgett, in two or three generations (it takes that long) to be counted among the best poets of his generation, to be counted among the best American poets, period."