Poetry by Ron Padgett
July 2, 2019 • 6 x 9 • 112 pages • 978-1-56689-549-1
Contemplative, wry, profound observations from one of the greatest masters of contemporary poetry.
Written over three seasons in a Vermont cabin, these poems act as a reflecting pool, casting back mortality, consciousness, and time in new, crystal-clear light.
About the Author
Ron Padgett grew up in Tulsa and has lived mostly in New York City since 1960. Among his many honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters poetry award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Padgett’s How Long was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry, and his Collected Poems won the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for the best poetry book of 2013. In addition to being a poet, he is also the translator of Guillaume Apollinaire, Pierre Reverdy, and Blaise Cendrars. His own work has been translated into eighteen languages.
“Deeply pleasing to read.” —The Paris Review Daily
Praise for Ron Padgett
“Padgett’s plainspoken, wry poems deliver their wisdom through a kind of connoisseurship of absurdity.” —The New Yorker
“Wonderful, generous, funny poetry.” —John Ashbery
“Reading Padgett one realizes that playfulness and lightness of touch are not at odds with seriousness. . . . As is often the case, leave it to the comic writer to best convey our tragic predicament.” —New York Review of Books
“One of the motivations driving the poems is the poet’s desire for knowledge, which he pursues without making any grand claims for this yearning. It is Padgett’s craving that animates his writing, and keeps him alert to the small and easily dismissed moments that make up our everyday lives.” —Hyperallergic
“Ron Padgett exposes the interconnectivity of past and present, the ways our conception of self is defined in relation to others, and how our inescapable sentience and use of language is what both connects and estranges us from the world around us.” —3:AM Magazine
“The poet makes superlative use of the directive writing consciousness—often automatic pilot—to tap the unconscious for memory, vision, emotion, and the unexpected and indefinable. The poems speak backwards and forwards in time, to self, to family and friends, to poetic technique, to the birds caged in the chest. It is so lovely.” —Alice Notley
“Ron Padgett makes the most quiet and sensible of feelings a provocatively persistent wonder.” —Robert Creeley
“How to Be Perfect should remind us of how long Ron Padgett has managed to stay perfectly balanced on a tightrope of irony despite his verbal giddiness and the uproariousness of his imagination.” —Billy Collins
“Ron Padgett’s Collected Poems is 810 pages long, and every page is a good time. . . . By turns (or all at once) sweet, hilarious, moving and mind-bogglingly imaginative. This book is for anyone who likes writing or who thinks it’s interesting to have a mind (or simply a forehead).” —Wall Street Journal, “12 Months of Reading: Richard Hell’s 2013 Picks”
“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. . . . 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.” —Poetry Society
“Coffee House Press has released a vehicle for everyday space travel: Ron Padgett’s Collected Poems. . . . Forty-five years after Great Balls of Fire, Padgett’s poems still fuel our capacity for joyful incomprehensibility and subsequent mobility of thought.” —Poetry Magazine