James J. Patterson's National Poetry Month Picks (week 2)
In honor of National Poetry Month, We asked author and essayist extraordinaire, James J. Patterson, to select three poems he'd like to see celebrated. Along with Walt Whitman's "On the Beach at Night Alone" (featured above), he chose Wordsworth's "The World is too much with Us", And Last but not least, the famed American Poet Robert Bly performing the poem "On Being a Man" by the famed Spanish poet, Antonio Machado.
James J. Patterson was born in Washington, DC, five days before Nixon’s infamous “Checkers Speech.” He’s been lurking about in what he calls “The Capital of the Empire” ever since. As “Jimmy Pheromone” he crisscrossed north America 200 nights a year, writing and performing songs with the satirical art-folk duo, The Pheromones, playing what they called “Pop-Relevant Cabaret.” The ‘Mones were famous the world over for songs such as Yuppie Drone, Grace In The World, This Speech Is Free, and The Galactic Funny Farm. Patterson was the founder and publisher of SportsFan Magazine for ten years, reporting on and fighting for the rights of sports fans everywhere. Today he’s that friendly fellow sitting next to you on the subway, or at the ball game, or by the bar, ready to strike up a conversation. He wants to hear a story. Tell him a good one. He might just write it down. His Latest Book, Roughnecks, is co-authored by Quinn O’Connell, Jr.
More from James J. Patterson
Recently, James J. Patterson sat down with fellow author, Branka Cubrilo, for her blog. They spoke on Patterson’s most recent novel, Roughnecks, his old band “The Pheromones,” whose style Patterson warmly refers to as “pop-friendly cabaret”, his favorite author, Henry Miller, and many other diverse topics.
“Lovers of the personal essay should be rejoicing in the streets at word of this collection. For readers and acquaintances of Jimmy Patterson, it is long overdue, but the author was born in Washington, D.C., where the machinery of progress is congenitally slow. So this book, in many important ways – is what all satisfying collections of autobiographical essays should be – a mirror of place.” Rick Walter
Armistice Day, known in the US as Veteran’s Day, is now a work week past, but for James J Patterson it is a memory and idea that refuses to restrain itself to a 24 hour period. Yesterday we published his moving account of those veterans of The Great War he knew growing up, memorializing and contextualizing them for an audience whose experience of the war may only be through the muddy, pained faces in old photographs…
My father always said that his first memory was of standing on the couch in his parent’s living room, small hands on the back cushion, peering out a picture widow at a neighborhood street in Bend, Oregon. There is a slow-moving line of cars and horse-drawn carriages inching its way down the lane. The line of cars is there every day, and every day he stands there and watches. His street is a long one and at the end of it is the cemetery. He is not allowed to go outside to play. Death is all anyone talks about. Death from a great flu epidemic. Death from a great war just ending. Everyone has lost someone. Most have lost a few. It is 1918…