“The Biggest Bomb” David Ignatow

Y’all should get real intimate with this gem. It’s from “Claims for Poetry,” a dope book of essays edited by Donald Hall from 1982.

This short essay from 1955 is by a poet I had never heard of, David Ignatow. I googled him and discovered he was the kind of poet who found some success, but always had to maintain a day job: butcher, book binder, hospital admitting clerk, vegetable market night clerk, and paper salesman.”

He was also “editor of American Poetry Review, Analytic, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Chelsea Magazine, and … poetry editor of The Nation.”

Anyway, biographical minutiae aside, this “impressionistic essay” is at times monastic — “I deal with words, I give myself the pleasure of being free with my feelings, my thoughts. I allow them to fall into any shape or color they desire in words.” — and at other times animalistic: “The freedom I write about is for cockroaches, ants, mice, and lice.”

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