The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

January 13, 2014

January 13, 2009

W. D. Snodgrass (January 5, 1926 to January 13, 2009) won a Pulitzer for his first book of poetry, Heart's Needle, in 1960. From a summary of his critical reception we read about Snodgrass:

His poems also present, beyond the direct-statement and sentimentality common to confessional poetry, an inclusiveness of detail and variety of technique aimed to impact the reader's subconscious as well as conscious mind. 

Particularly controversial, though on different grounds than the questions confessional poetry brings up, was 

... Snodgrass's third volume of original poetry, The Fuehrer Bunker, [1995] which uses dramatic monologues to recreate what was said by the men and women who shared Hitler's bunker from April 1 to May 1, 1945.

Garrison Keillor is more sympathetic to confessional poetry, when he writes of Snodgrass (in his Writer's Almanac blog)

He started writing poetry at a time when the poets T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound had persuaded most poets writing in English that poetry should be full of imagery and symbols and allusions to mythology, but that it shouldn't contain any obviously personal details....Snodgrass's work helped inspire a whole new school of poetry in which American poets began to write openly about their personal lives for the first time in decades.

I feel no need to weigh in on confessional poetry per se, but we found a nice excerpt to use here, from a poem titled "On High," about a ceiling fallen in (collected in 
Not for Specialists: New and Selected Poems (2006).

...Heavy, heavy
what hung over, long years, like an angel's perch
or sniper's blind, bare inches from our heads!
Say, a tramp cat crept in out of whetted winds,
snarled in some, the dead flesh
nibbled off by its past prey, mice...

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