• Tisha Dolton

A Poet Named Bronk: William Bronk, Hudson Falls Poet

Updated: May 3


UNNAMED

from Some Words: Poems by William Bronk (1992)


In the narrowest and most immediate

view, we are named and identifiable

as persons, noted and notarized as such,

often with forbears and offspring also known.

All this is documented and kept with care

that protects the claim. This is a way we live.


Viewed from a long way back and away, as we

view distant people--distant as we for them--

we are nameless and nothing as their dust and their

bones are, like cells shed from the skin

of a body. We are that--as were they--in our walking around.

And their isn't even a body to be shed from.


But feel vitality. Plentitude.

Untimed. Nothings, we share in it.



The William Bronk Poetry Collection in the Holden Collection <Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library>
The William Bronk Poetry Collection. Bust donated by Richard Carella <Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library>

William Bronk, 1934 (Gilmore (42-43)


William Bronk (1918-1999) published 3 books of essays, and over 30 books of poetry in his lifetime. The son of homemaker and a small business owner, he graduated from Hudson Falls High School early and entered Dartmouth College at age sixteen. After a brief stint at Harvard University, Bronk was drafted and served in the US Army during WWII. He taught at Union College in Schenectady before returning home to run the family business, Bronk Coal & Lumber Company, until his retirement in 1978. All the while still writing, winning the National Book Award for Life Supports: New and Collected Poems (1981).






Epiphany

from Some Words: Poems by William Bronk (1992)


We learn not to expect so much of days;

even more, mornings are beautiful.



Bronk Coal & Lumber Co. in Hudson Falls. William Bronk ran it after the death of his father. (Gilmore 42-43)

The William Bronk Poetry Collection of poems, published poetry collections, and audio recordings are held in the Folklife Center, though a number of his books are available to check out. While there are no manuscripts or personal papers in our collection, Columbia University has the William Bronk papers, 1908-1999 in their Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


William Bronk at his childhood home on Pearl Street in Hudson Falls, NY (Gilmore 292-293)

The House That Doesn't House

from Manifest and Furthermore: Poems by William Bronk (1987)


I have my own place and live there alone.

In some ways we shape each other perhaps. It's not

the house that lives me though, though something does.


I think of whatever lives us as another house

that we don't have to live in or even know about.

It has space we can go to not to stay

but go home again to the smaller rooms of our own

wondering at size, at immensity where we sense

the shelter and have no sense of wall, where there seems

concern for us though no one there and we

feel thankful for what we give: our temporal

tininess and begin to love ourselves

as worthy deservers, as though we were ones who are loved

and go, bemused, back home. Alone there.




April is National Poetry Month. For others in this series, check out

Jonathan E. Hoag

Jeanne Robert Foster

Richard Carella


SOURCES

Bronk, William. Manifest and Furthermore: Poems. San Francisco, CA: North Point Press, 1987.


———. Some Words: Poems. Mount Kisco, NY: Asphodel Press, 1992.


Gilmore, Lyman. The Force of Desire: a Life of William Bronk. Jersey City, NJ: Talisman House, 2006.



I also consulted the William Bronk Poetry Collection held in the Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library which is available for research purposes when the Folklife Center is open, or by calling 518-792-6508 x239.


Tisha Dolton is Librarian/Historian at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Her areas of interest are suffrage music, suffragists of Warren and Washington Counties, local women and minority populations, and embroidery.

#nationalpoetrymonth #poets #poetry #williambronk #hudsonfallsny #inthearchives #poems #epiphany #unnamed #housethatdoesnthouse

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