ISBN: 978-0-9831251-0-5; 52 pgs.; $9.95
Currently Out of Print
The poems in Kirby Congdon’s new collection Athletes showcase the sinuous, lyrical intensity he is known for. Each of the poems is about a different type of athlete, such as Swimmers, Joggers, Acrobats, Daredevil and Discus Thrower. Although he attended Columbia University with Ginsberg and Kerouac, and has contributed a major study of Corso, Congdon is wrongly considered a Beat poet. His work is contemporaneous with the Beats, but hearkens back to modern masters such as Stevens, with a Baudelairian strain, mixed together with colloquial speech. Though the focus of the collection is on the correlation between the physical and the ethereal, the pleasure of these poems emanates primarily from their impressive musicality. From Riding East: “As dawn, easing in, seeps / along its stretch of sky / where I ride, the stains intensify.” Congdon uses lyric techniques such as assonance without strain or stretch. At the age of eighty-six, Congdon is a national treasure. He is the American answer to William Butler Yeats, as great a musician as a poet can be without going over the top.
“A poet like Congdon is a man who binds himself to the mast and sails off determined to miss nothing, record everything, even the siren song that leads everyone finally to the reefs of extinguishment.” -Joan Colby, Small Press Review
“Kirby has not been in the mainstream of his time, but he has been very much a part of the avant-garde and a creative but independent force as poet, editor and critic. He deserves, and will some day get, the attention that he merits.”
-Ray C. Longtin, Professor Emeritus of English, Long Island University
“Congdon’s work bears much in common with that of metaphysical poets such as John Donne and Andrew Marvel, concerning itself with time, human mortality and decay, and employing metaphysical conceits ranging from the ancient to the modern, the recognizable to the unfamiliar.” -JoSelle Vanderhooft, The Pedestal Magazine