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‘Contra Mortem’ and ‘Journey to a Known Place’.

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Read by HAYDEN CARRUTH.

Hayden Carruth reads Contra Mortem and Journey to a Known Place

HAYDEN CARRUTH WROTE thirty books of poetry over his long career. He was also a journalist, wrote essays, a novel, compiled two anthologies and was editor-in-chief of Poetry (1949-1950), poetry editor of Harper’s Magazine (1977-1988), and advisory editor at The Hudson Review for 20 years. He said he came from a family of writers, editors and journalists and began writing poetry when he was four or five. Publishing mostly with small presses, and avoiding academia until he was almost 60, his concerns for the poor, rural life, inequality and loneliness became the central subjects of his work. Well regarded for technical mastery of the many forms and modes of his poetry, and never settling on a particular voice, he called his style ‘miscellaneous’.

For many years he lived on a small farm in Johnson, Vermont. This reading was recorded in his snug living room in 1967, before a wood stove on a very cold day. Among many awards for his poetry, including fellowships from the Bollingen Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, his  Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey won The National Book Award in 1996. He died in 2008. — Stephen Wiest

Stephen Wiest, a former poet-in-residence at The Johns Hopkins University, is the author of Screeds (Odd Volumes 2013). This recording was made as part of a recording tour that included James Laughlin and Paul Zimmer.

With thanks to Paul Cohen for the vinyl.

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