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Juliy 1, 2008 The Arsenal, Central Park, New York City From the Academy Audio Archive

About this poet

Gregory Pardlo was born in Philadelphia in 1968. 

He is the author of Digest (Four Way Books, 2014), which received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and was shortlisted for the 2015 NAACP Image Award, and Totem (American Poetry Review), which was selected by Brenda Hillman for the American Poetry Review/Honickman Prize in 2007. Pardlo is also the author of Air Traffic, a memoir in essays forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf in 2018.

Of his work, Cyrus Cassells writes, “Pardlo is a modern griot and shape-shifter, a Prospero of unforced allusion: an up-for-anything Pardlo poem can deftly evoke sociology, jazz, lofty philosophy, African-American lit, Russian cinema, Greek mythology, European travel, film noir, hip hop, and a host of other topics.”

Pardlo is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, among others. He is the poetry editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.


Bibliography

Digest (Four Way Books, 2014)
Totem (American Poetry Review, 2007)

Title It Shotgun Wound

for Jackson Pollack

on the bar of the Cedar Tavern: the shot 
that got spilled after you'd taken several rounds,
making the oak bar report 
your vigor each time with the glass 
emptied of its mayhem. 
Before the impulse could travel its course 
to spark your hand reaching again for the glass, 
Creeley's clumsy ebullience, bounding to the bar, 
spilled the bitter dose. As he apologized, 
you were thinking there's no such thing 
as accident. A moment ago, you were ready 
to put a nickel in the Wurlitzer and dance your way 
back to Easthampton. But now, you took him 
by the shoulders, gripped him like the bathroom door 
you once ripped from its hinges because of the mirror on it. 
You wanted to discipline him, instruct him in 
the logic of charged particles, make Creeley feel 
the stray electron as he may have 
when his eyeball caught pixied windshield 
as an infant. If you had known 
that child's long months stifling tears 
for fear of aggravating the wound, 
you would have marveled how he stored his grief 
as you marveled now his standing up to your bully- 
face. Everyone thought you knew each other, 
how you looked just then in one another's arms.

From Totem, published by the American Poetry Review. Copyright © 2007 by Gregory Pardlo. Used with permission.

From Totem, published by the American Poetry Review. Copyright © 2007 by Gregory Pardlo. Used with permission.

Gregory Pardlo

Gregory Pardlo

Gregory Pardlo's second poetry collection, Digest (Four Way Books, 2014), received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and was shortlisted for the​ 2015 NAACP Image Award.

by this poet

poem
                  Plow-piled snow shrouded 
         in shadow from the abbreviating sun, snow 
frosted with the exhaust of tour buses. Pigeons shift in congress. 
                  Sun glints windshields & chrome 
         like cotton blooms in the monitors. Surveillance here is catholic. 

From cornices
2
poem

Paul Green
Of course I know the story of the scorpion
and the frog. I've known Biggers all my life.
I’ve cast down my buckets where I've
stood with them, shoulder to shoulder, our bodies
bent like double helices in the fields. And
when the mob came for Dick didn’t I sit
2
poem

Unfinished, the road turns off the fill
from the gulf coast, tracing the bay, to follow
the inland waterway. I lose it in the gritty
limbo of scrub pine, the once wealth
—infantile again, and lean—of lumber barons,
now vested in the state, now sanctuary for renegades
and shamans, for