Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scott Wannberg: not your hipster poet, but the real deal

I heard this evening that one of my favorite poets, Scott Wannberg of Florence, Oregon, has passed away.  He had a wicked sense of humor mixed with a voice that spoke for the little people. 

One of my favorites of his many works:

Agony River by Scott Wannberg

Temperature has a headache

swears it won't rise to your occasion
Speeding patrol cars out of fashion
find enough time to spotlight your cold skin

Agony River just called collect
promises to flow to the front door in a few hours
Strange faces from the ongoing confusion
only make the decision that much harder

Pull the plug or mop up the bleeding deck one last time
in hope it will never show up again
Pain aches for you and it calls me over and
wants to know the secret of reaching you

Idiot, I tell it, the only secret is in
the sunlight, how it still finds a way to bathe you
when all the experts have run off to the airport
for their red eye flights home

Agony River winds its way to the sea
and we are nothing more than
belligerent fish
waiting for some omnipresent hook
to call on us for some kind of sustaining belief

If anything, I'm glad his pain is over.  He has a spoken word CD called 3 Fools 4 April that has some especially moving poems.  In one, he actually is weeping as he reads....the poem was about the death of someone close and the strange mix of dealing with death, finding a meal, making 'arrangements', and grieving all at the same time.  He never just read a text, he felt the emotions and exuded those feelings.  Not your hipster poet, for sure. Strange Movie Full of Death is a huge collection of his works-the definite grouping.

The words will be treasured as the voice is missed...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this he was the master, and gave more to the art than anyone I know. May he RIP...Jack-the emotional orphan