In this issue we are pleased to honor Ruth Daigon as our Poet Emeritus.
Ruth Daigon has lead an interesting and varied artistic life. She grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, where she received a BA from the University of Winnipeg and a full scholarship to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada . She spent "four tough years" as a concert soprano in Toronto . Next, she moved to Vancouver where she spent two grueling years singing at weddings, funerals, bar mitzahs, musical comedy, had her own weekly radio show, sang with the various Canadian Symphony Orchestras and toured Canada with an opera quartet. She then moved to New York City where she lived in Greenwich Village and was a soloist with the New York Pro Music, did concerts and appearances, was a guest artist on CBS's Camera Three and did "anything that would make it possible to pay for lessons and the rent."
It was in New York that she met her husband, Artie. She recorded for Columbia Records, sang at Dylan Thomas' funeral and collaborated with WH. Auden to record Renaissance poetry and music. Ruth and Art had two children and eventually moved to Hartford, Connecticut where Art began teaching at the University of Connecticut . She was able to sing with the Hartford Symphony and organized some recitals, but there wasn't much work for a concert soprano in Hartford . At Art's suggestion, she began to write poetry in the late 1960's. The rest is history.
In an article in Webdelsol , Perihelion: The Relationship Of Poetry and Music , Ruth Daigon writes about how she started with "song poems" and then moved into lyric poetry. She describes her philosophy about poetry:
Lyric poetry is often synonymous with a passionate outpouring,
a singing, a saying. The poet may feel that to restrain or modify
the emotion is to somehow betray the depth of feeling. However,
the greater the extent of the passion, the more appropriate it
is to harness and control such energy. A little understatement
makes the poem more powerful -- not only cognitively but affectively.
A good singer doesn't bear down on each note and squeeze it dry
in order to make certain that her audience "gets it".
So a poet should avoid explaining a poem to death. A wild fling
into emotionally overwrought language can ruin a poem or, even,
on a larger scale, a reading.
She began getting her work published and then, in 1982, she began editing and publishing Poet's On , a print poetry magazine, which continued for 20 years.
In the late eighties, with the kids out on their own, Ruth and Artie moved to the Bay Area.
Ruth says that her most satisfying achievement so far was writing Payday at the Triangle, which is based on the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire where 147 people, mostly young women, were killed . The book includes news articles and old photos and was based on interviews with survivors, police and firefighters. She was asked to do a reading at the Tenement Museum in Manhattan near the site of the old factory and the Museum's bookstore carries the book.
Other highlights have been reading in the Greenwich Library Series, The Poets Voice, which has been in existence for over 30 years; and having her poetry included in the U.S. State Department's literary exchange with Thailand and in the first book of Modern American poets printed in English and Thai.
Her poetry has also been featured by Garrison Keilor on The Writers' Almanac, produced by Minnesota Public Radio.
Ruth continues to write, do readings and organize readings for others. Most recently, she cut a CD of her poetry for James Alsop Productions and appeared in The Mississippi Review's issue on War and its Aftermath in February, 2007.
Ruth believes that the best advice for a poet is:"write to please yourself not to impress others."
It was very difficult to decide which of her many poems to feature and we hope our readers will be inspired to read more.
National Poetry Awards:
The Eve of St. Agnes Award (Negative Capability), 1993
Ann Stanford Poetry Award, University of Southern California , 1997.
Greensboro Poetry Award, Greensboro Arts Council, 2000.
Handfuls of Time, Small Poetry Press, Select Poets Series, 2002
Payday at the Triangle, Small Poetry Press, 2001
The Moon Inside, Gravity/Newton's Baby Press, 1999
Between One Future and the Next, Paper-Macae Press, 1995
Contemporary Authors: Autobiography Series, Volume 25, Thomson Gale Publishing, November 1996, includes Ruth Dagon's autobiography
"Ruth Dagon's Greatest Hits" is forthcoming from Pudding House Publications as part of their Gold chapbook series.
Alaska Quarterly, Atlanta Review, Connecticut Review, Calliope, De Kalb Literary Art Journal Anthology, Greensboro Review, Kansas Quarterly, Negative Capability, Poet and Critic, Poet Lore, Poetry Now, Shenandoah, Sycamore Review, The Southern Review, Tikkun, Zone 3
Ariga, Crania, Cross Connect, Mudlark, Recursive Angel, Switched On Gutenberg, Zuzu's Petals,
El autor de la semana (11 al 17 de agosto de 1997), in Spanish and English, Oscar Aguilera, The University Chile in Santiago .
ForPoetry, Kota's Poetry Anthology, PoetryMagazine, The Alsop Review, Three Candle Review, Web Del Sol
Ruth Daigon's poems, articles, reviews and papers are in Special Collections in the main library at the University of Connecticut at Storrs .
Copyright © 2007 Ruth Daigon