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  Ron Padgett
Ron Padgett
Photo by John Tranter
Ron Padgett wryly attributes his long career as a poet to "something deep and mysterious inside of me that cannot be explained." He began writing when he was thirteen years old. In 1958 while still in high school, Padgett and his friends, Dick Gallup and Joe Brainard, founded a literary magazine called The White Dove Review. Writers published in the magazine's five issues included Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Robert Creeley, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), and Ted Berrigan. From those auspicious, cooperative beginnings, Padgett has continued to be a deeply involved and collegial poet. He has published numerous books of poetry, including You Never Know, Poems I Guess I Wrote, New & Selected Poems, The Big Something, Triangles in the Afternoon, and Great Balls of Fire. Padgett has also produced a lively body of collaborative works, teaming with artists and writers such as Joe Brainard, Ted Berrigan, Jim Dine, Trevor Winkfield, George Schneeman, and Alex Katz.
Interview with Ron Padgett
by Bonnie North of WUWM Lake Effect, broadcast May 9, 2007.


Ron Padgett
Who is here with me?
My mother and an Indian man.
(I am writing this in the past.)
The Indian man is not a man,
but a wooden statue just outside
the limits of wood. My mother
is made of mother. She touches
the wood with her eyes and the eyes
of the statue turn to hers, that is,
become hers. (I am not dreaming.
I haven't even been born yet.)
There is a cloud in the sky.
My father is inside the cloud,
asleep. When he wakes up, he
will want coffee and smoke.
My mother will set fire
to the Indian and from deep inside
her body I will tell her
to start the coffee, for even now
I hear my father's breathing change.

from You Never Know, copyright 2001 Coffee House Press

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