30 January 2018

Joan Murray: A New York Poet

We old dudes. We
White shoes. We

Golf ball. We
Eat mall. We

Soak teeth. We
Palm Beach. We

Vote red. We
Soon dead.
  - "We Old Dudes" by Joan Murray, Poetry Magazine, July 2006

Joan Murray (b.1945) is an American poet  whose verse novel Queen Of The Mist

is based on the true story of the first person to go over the Horseshoe at Niagara Falls and survive, a woman named Annie Taylor who dared the feat in 1901.  Although this has been known for more than century, most school children still learn about the first man to duplicate Taylor's feat.  Even Wikipedia can only bring itself to state that Taylor is known for "falling down Niagara Falls in a barrel on October 24, 1901.   The words we use matter; that's why poetry can be so powerful, I think.

Find more about The Visitor: Poems From the Eastman House by Joan Murray with photographs by Gertrude Kasebier (1852-1934).
Murray has also been a poet in residence at Olana, the historic home, now a museum, to the painter Frederic Edwin Church (18261900).

For further reading:
Swimming For The Ark: New and Selected Poems, Buffalo, White Pine Press: 2015
Dancing On The Edge, Boston, Beacon Press: 2002
Looking For The Parade, New York, W.W. Norton: 2000
Queen Of The Mist: The Forgotten Heroine of Niagara, Boston, Beacon Press: 1999
The Same Water, Middletown, CT, Wesleyan University Press: 1990

1. Gertrude Kasebier - Amos Two Bulls, Dakota Sioux, c.1900, Library of Congress.
Gertrude Kasebier - Dorothy, 1903, private collection, courtesy of Artnet.

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