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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Phone Call to Rutherford

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“It would be --
                              a mercy if
you did not come
                              see me ...

“I have dif-fi / cul-ty
                             s/peaking, I
cannot count on it, I
am afraid it would be too em-
barrassing f f --
                            for me  .”

                            --Bill, can you still
                            answer letters?

“No  .  my hands
are tongue-tied
You have...made

a record in my heart  .
                           Goodbye  .”

Paul Blackburn (1926-1971) was born in Vermont and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1950.  He was associated with the Black Mountain School of poets and a notable translator of Lorca, Paz, and Picasso from Spanish.  He was included in the original edition of Donald Allen’s New American Poetry 1945-1960.  The Collected Poems of Paul Blackburn was published in 1984. “Phone Call to Rutherford” is reprinted here from Visiting Dr. Williams: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of William Carlos Williams (University of Iowa Press), edited by Sheila Coghill and Thom Tammaro.