Driving home from South Burlington this afternoon, I caught the latter part of Jane Lindholm’s 2009 interview with Galway Kinnell on Vermont Public Radio—a repeat. Mr. Kinnell was one of the first poets I read when I embarked on my own self-study in 2003—having in mind that he was the quintessential Vermont poet. Everyone I knew loved his poetry. His books are stocked in every bookstore throughout the state. I had a vision of him in some cabin in a shady pocket of the Kingdom, pencil-scratching through notebooks, which kept piling up in a dark corner.
This is (was) my vision of a mountain poet, a Vermont poet. I imagined David Budbill, walking stick in hand, tooling along on wooded paths only he knows, and coming home to his cabin in the secret nook where he lives, to pencil-scratch away his meditations. And Robert Frost, who kept his cot in a few different cabins between Vt and NH. Hayden Carruth, Bob Arnold, Ruth Stone, the list goes on. Because we live in The Green Mountain State, I had a vision of what a crusty old Vermont poet should be. It always involved being a hermit in the mountains. I aimed to be one of them. Continue reading