Excerpt Wednesday – In the Mohave – Orr

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Besides having had two poems published in Poetry magazine in 1915, there is nothing more I am able to tell you about the author of today’s poem – not even a birth or death date. It is a poetry mystery! And it is in contrast to the ethos of the internet age, where we are used to being able to find information about anyone instantly: the poem exists online but not so the poet. In a strange way it fits with the austere and ephemeral nature of life he describes in the desert, when the bones are left behind but the life of the animal is gone. If you would like to read the entire poem, click here. In the Mohave by Patrick Orr, painting (acrylic on cardboard) and composition by me.

26 comments

    1. Thank you! I’ve only found the two poems by Patrick Orr, both in the same issue of Poetry magazine, but his small oeuvre is lovely. It was my hope to capture the essence of his work, so thank you so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is my pleasure! I am looking forward to getting to know your poetry and thoughts – I am also looking forward to the article Matthias has promised about you on Beat Company. I am so glad he e-introduced me to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. i look forward to this little talk, i had about if memory serves right five interviews…

        Question;

        Why or what reasons have you decided this interview?

        Reasons being, i’m an addict living on the street, i use to steal poems from hastywords.wordpress.com, whom touched my blog (thisoldtoad) one time..

        She would be the one, whom i give credit into passing poetry onto someone with little school, i don’t believe wrote anything like i do now in school, which seems a little sad, only in the fact, school could have been more enjoyable..

        cheers chris

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      3. Thank you for introducing me to the hastywords blog – it is a wonderful collaboration of writers and artists. It doesn’t matter when the impetus to write and create strikes us (it didn’t strike me while I was in school either), it only matters that we express it. I appreciate the diversity and authenticity of your voice – we need to hear your words too. This artist was homeless as well, and she created haunting, beautiful self-portraits:

        http://hyperallergic.com/258214/a-homeless-artist-who-staged-glamor-shots-in-bus-station-photobooths/

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    1. Thank you kindly, Chris! I agree – hopefully we can learn more about the poet – I am cautiously optimistic that more will come to light about him. In the meantime his words live on and continue to touch people.

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      1. Poetry, as to my own, when i believe that i’m finished, once again i will delete the blog, maybe never starting again…

        i don’t believe i will changing the name again, given up on running from those christians!

        Poetry found me, through hastywords.wordpress.com

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      2. As long as you decide to keep your blog, I will enjoy your poetry. Many artists believe that their artwork has a “lifespan” and intend for it to disappear after it is gone. The internet has changed that equation a bit, with things “lasting” online forever, so it is interesting to hear your thoughts on it!

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      3. i don’t believe things last forever, when one deletes the source, usually it leaves the net!

        However, now ifinn somebody else takes a piece and re-uses, not using the source, then it becomes theirs different from the source…

        i don’t know does that make any sense?

        chris

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      4. That’s true – as long as someone has not posted the work on another website it should be gone if you delete it. I think that’s what people get nervous about: someone else posting or re-using their work and losing control of it.

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  1. Wow! I used to live in Tucson, AZ. Such a stunning poem. And a perfect illustration to go with that line. Makes me long for the Sonoran desert. I understand why Georgia O’Keefe loved the place.

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    1. Thank you, Jilanne! This poem really spoke to my heart. I love the desert and I truly missed it when I lived on the east coast. The desert around Tucson is just fantastic – did you attend U of A? I very nearly took a job there a few years ago and I am longing to head back there again, see some saguaros. There is something about the spaciousness of the desert that makes me want to paint, write, photograph and create all sorts of art.

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  2. I am continually amazed by the lack of online information for artists and writers I’m looking for. I really believe you need a friend or relative to keep your legacy active online or you will disappear. Considering his age, it would be doubtful that great grandchildren would be interested in taking up the cause…and maybe they have no idea, even, that he wrote and published poetry. But I agree with Claudia, you have now given him a place in today’s universe, if nothing else, and maybe more will come of it. (K)

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    1. Agreed: I know that I have such an expectation that a poet or artist will have biographical information online that every time I come up empty handed I am shocked – even though this is at least the third time it has happened to me with a poem for IP. You are probably right that any living descendants of his have no idea that he wrote several widely well regarded and published poems – although his name is fairly common, so that may be an issue. I do hold out hope that someone who knew him or knows of him will read this and reach out!

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  3. The poet foresaw his own fate?

    I love the poem and your illustration, and the story about the poet as well. Patrick Orr still lives through his words and we are remembering him today. Think of that. You did something good in several ways, I think. I am touched by this, poem, picture, and story.

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    1. Thank you, Claudia. I was struck by how apt the desert metaphor really was for Mr. Orr – the desert is a place of memory and forgetfulness, where flowers last for a single day, but you can walk in wagon wheel ruts from the 1800’s, etched for the next 1000 years in the sunbaked sand. His poetry lives on even if the particulars of his life do not. Your art work has really inspired me to experiment with etching and scratching in one layer of wet paint to expose a lower layer – so thank you for that too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I was surprised I couldn’t even identify a birth and death date – sometimes that is all I can find, but at least it is something. I did come across a blogger and poet whose name was also Patrick Orr who was looking for information about this Patrick Orr, but alas he too uncovered nothing.

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    1. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is – if we assume that Mr. Orr was an adult in 1915, that would make him in the range of 121 years old today – although that may earn him an award as the oldest living Twitter user! 😉

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