February & March 2015

Walking with Walt

          by Ron Padgett


When everyday objects and tasks

seem to crowd into the history you live in

you can’t breathe so easily you can hardly breathe at all

the space is so used up,

when yesterday there was nothing but.

Ah, expansive America! you

must have existed. Otherwise

no Whitman.


It’s funny that America did not explode

when Whitman published Leaves of Grass,

explode with amazement and pride, but

America was busy being other

than what he thought it was and I grew up

thinking along his lines and of course now

oh well


though actually at this very moment

the trees are acting exactly the way they did

when he walked through and among them,

one of the roughs, as he put it,

though how rough I don’t know I think

he was just carried away


as we all are, if we’re lucky

enough to have just walking

buoy us up a little off the earth

to be more on it


from Collected Poems, published by Coffee House Press, 2013

Old Frog Pond Farm & Studio is sponsoring a free public reading by Ron Padgett, as he receives the 15th annual Robert Creeley Award on Thursday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. (www.robertcreeleyfoundation.org). The reading is at the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, 36 Charter Road, Acton, MA.

Ron Padgett is the recipient of the 2015 Robert Creeley Award . A finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, Padgett’s many honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Shelley Memorial Award, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and his work has been translated into eighteen languages.