Friday, January 16, 2009

W.D. Snodgrass (1926-2009)

His name jumped out at me as I glanced at the obituary page of the Los Angeles Times this morning. W.D. Snodgrass, "Pulitzer winning poet and teacher. In truth, I hadn't seen the name in decades but it brought back many memories. I was a student at Wayne State University (in Detroit, Michigan) from 1956-1961. Snodgrass joined the faculty in 1958 and he was there for 10 years. In 1959, his first book, Heart's Needle was published and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1960.

I never took a class from Professor Snodgrass, but I did attend a few of his on-campus poetry readings. The details from 50 years ago are cloudy in my mind but I remember him as a man one does not easily forget. I also remember the hoopla on campus when he won the Pulitzer for Heart's Needle.

Our paths crossed ever so briefly when I was a young undergraduate student with a minor in English. While I had not thought about him for many years, he was not forgotten. I was saddened to read the news Snodgrass' passing. May his poetry live on. May he rest in peace.