A Reader's Guide to Unfamiliar Literature
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Categorization is odious. There is tremendous overlap among genres. These pigeonholes are offered only as a convenience.

Hayden Carruth (1921 - )

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sharon October 23rd, 2006 03:40 PM PST

Hayden Carruth is one of this country's and this century's greatest poets, and has a greater and more diverse range than almost anyone else. He writes about love, old age, jazz (he's an aficionado), war, rural life, and he writes in a variety of voices, forms, and styles. Besides his 20-odd books of poetry, he has written a novel and a collection of very frank autobiographical essays called Reluctantly (because he wrote them reluctantly), in which he describes his Connecticut childhood, his mental illnesses and hospital stays, his three marriages and many affairs, his alcoholism, his suicide attempt, his arduous life and his struggles.
He is a poet of consummate skill, passion, and dedication to truth. Some of his best poems are written in the voices of his farmer-neighbors in rural Vermont, where he lived for many years. A good place to start reading his poetry is Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey, 1996, which has many poems about aging and eroticism, i.e., about finding romantic love--yet again--in old age. Another good place to start is Reluctantly, for an account of an unusual and courageous life.


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