Glen Baxter on Ron Padgett’s Poems

‘I don’t know how a poet becomes a poet. And I don’t think anyone else does either’

Glen Baxter, How to Read Poetry, 2018, specially commissioned for frieze’s 200th issue. Courtesy: the artist

Glen Baxter, How to Read Poetry, 2018, specially commissioned for frieze’s 200th issue. Courtesy: the artist

The recent Jim Jarmusch film Paterson (2016) is a portrait of the life of a bus driver in New Jersey who writes poetry. The poetry in the film is the work of the American poet Ron Padgett. His poems have been an inspiration to many of us and this is a great way to celebrate them, so let’s do just that. In his poem ‘Ron Padgett’ (1971), Joe Brainard wrote:

‘Ron Padgett is a poet. He always has been a poet and always will be a poet. I don’t know how a poet becomes a poet. And I don’t think anyone else does either. It is something deep and mysterious inside of a person that cannot be explained. It is something that no one understands. It is something that no one will ever understand. I asked Ron Padgett once how it came about that he was a poet and he said: ‘I don’t know. It is something deep and mysterious inside of me that cannot be explained.’

Glen Baxter is an artist based in London, UK.

Issue 200

First published in Issue 200

January - February 2019

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