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The New York Times remembers W.D. Snodgrass

31mystory-booming-poet1-master675 (W.D. Snodgrass, photo courtesy of The New York Times) The New York Times remembered the late W.D. Snodgrass recently with a special piece entitled "Knocking Once Again on the Poet's Door." Snodgrass, the author of numerous BOA collections including Each in His Season (1993), The Fuehrer Bunker (1995),  After-Images (1999), and Not For Specialists (2006), among others, passed away in 2008. In the piece, journalist William McDonald recalls both his first and last interviews with the late poet. "William DeWitt Snodgrass spent a half-century or more writing poetry, most of it vigorous and plain-spoken. In the 1960s, the poet and critic Gavin Ewart was unequivocal in calling him 'one of the six best American poets today.' ...His verse was a one-man soul-baring operation — honest, sometimes piercingly frank, often wry and witty — that might uncover universal truths along the way." While a graduate student at Syracuse University, McDonald interviewed Snodgrass for the first time. Picked up by a local paper, the interview became his first article as a professional journalist. More than 30 years later, McDonald was able to interview the poet one last time before his passing.

"His was an inward-turning art that appealed to a generation younger than his — one torn between communitarian ideals and a self-involved thirst for emotional and professional fulfillment ... He published more than 30 books of poetry, criticism and translations ... He won a fair share of acclaim, most notably in the form of the Pulitzer in 1960, for the volume 'Heart’s Needle.' His friend and mentor Robert Lowell found inspiration in that collection, Snodgrass would recall proudly."

"I suppose that with Snodgrass’s death, I was forced to acknowledge what else had passed away, my youth. But I also felt a quiet satisfaction. On a country road I had retraced some steps, and a path taken long ago had somehow, fittingly, come full circle."

Click here to read the entire piece from The New York Times.

For BOA titles by W.D. Snodgrass, visit the BOA Bookstore.


1 comment


  • De was an important part of our lives here in San Miguel de Allende. He and I didn’t always agree on ideas about poetry, but a friendship developed and conversations were often very lively. I even introduced him once when he and wife Kathy did a presentation in our PEN series about ‘the worst poems in English.’ He had a great comic side. He came to a reading of mine in the Writers Aloud series I founded here, and we had some terrific dinners over wine and remembrance. He is missed.

    Bill Pearlman on

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