A Web Del Sol Featured Poet

David Ignatow

Earth hard to my heels
bear me up like a child
standing on its mother's belly.
I am a surprised guest to the air.

Photo by Layle Silbert

David Ignatow was born in Brooklyn, and has lived most of his life in New York. He has published sixteen volumes of poetry and three prose collections. Included in these are Poems, The Gentle Weightlifter, Say Pardon, Figures of the Human, Earth Hard: Selected Poems, Rescue the Dead, Poems: 1934-1969, Facing the Tree, Selected Poems-1975, Tread the Dark, Whisper to the Earth, Leaving the Door Open, Shadowing the Ground, Despite the Plainness of the Day: Love Poems-1991, Against the Evidence, and I Have a Name. He has taught at Columbia, the New School for Social Research, the University of Kentucky, the University of Kansas, York College of the City University of New York, New York University, and Vassar College. At various times he has worked as an editor for the American Poetry Review and Beloit Poetry Journal

The National Institute of Arts and Letters has presented to Mr. Ignatow an award "for a lifetime of creative effort." His work has been recognized also with the Bollingen Prize, two Guggenheim fellowhips, the Wallace Stevens fellowship from Yale University, the Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, the Poetry Society of America's Shelly Memorial Award, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is president emeritus of the Poetry Society of America and a member of the executive board of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. His current home is in East Hampton, Long Island.

David Ignatow, from Poetry, Part 3:

For My Daughter in Reply to a Question

We're not going to die.
we'll find a way.
We'll breathe deeply
and eat carefully.
We'll think always on life.
There'll be no fading for you or for me.
We'll be the first
and we'll not laugh at ourselves ever
and your children will be my grandchildren.
Nothing will have changed
except by addition.
There'll never be another as you
and never another as I.
No one ever will confuse you
nor confuse me with another.
We will not be forgotten and passed over
and buried under the births and deaths to come.

What Robert Bly had to say about David Ignatow's work:

In form, David Ignatow is a master of the natural or non- academic style pioneered by Whitman and William Carlos Williams. In content he is a master also, this time of the harsh perception, the self-judgment reluctantly made. He tells truths that are so bitter they seem sweet. I find him a great poet and a friend of the soul.

Selections from David Ignatow's work:

These works were originally included in Mr. Ignatow's collection entitled,
Against the Evidence, published by Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England.

Poetry, Part 1
Poetry, Part 2
Poetry, Part 3
Poetry, Part 4