On Wednesday, March 10th, professor, poet, and writer Ida Sadoff gave a reading from his newest collection of poetry Country Living (2021). The long-time professor of Creative Writing at Antioch College, The University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop, and Warren Wilson College read his poems on nature, humanity, and emotional experience with great enthusiasm.
Stuart Dischell, Professor of Poetry at UNC-Greensboro’s MFA Program gave the introduction: “His many collections of poetry, essays and fiction have been published in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, The Nation, and many others. He has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. My former teacher, always my teacher, Ira Sadoff.”
Sadoff began his reading with “Patriot,” a poem on social injustices and the current state of American culture and history. This poem echoes American history and racial injustices. A reminiscing for an older America where people took pride in their country, but without the injustices of others. Other poems included in the reading were filled with imagery, rhyme and history drawing from Sadoff’s past and current works.
Another featured poem, “In the Aviary,” was written about Central Park Zoo. The poem involves a speaker who is sitting surrounded by many different birds. The speaker thinks and reflects on the state of the birds’ song and how they look, as well as how they feel about people.
The last featured poem, “Wilderness,” reflects an old tradition of nature in poetry and had a William Butler Yeats-esque quality to it. With images of animals, bugs, and a speaker being out in the wilderness not knowing where he was. Also, the religious aspects of the poem show how there is an air of tradition with a more modern tone in Sadoff’s work.
Overall, the poems Sadoff has written are filled with history, the past, art, religion, wine, nature and the human experience. Sadoff’s poems show many aspects of American life, worldly views, social change, war, peace, and many other views. Sadoff as a poet has several poetry collections and essays published. His poetry shows the younger writers of today that self-reflection and looking at the world can be the best muse.
The online format made the reading remarkably interesting to watch in comparison to past in-person readings. The viewer could face everyone’s face, poet and audience members alike. One could see into a number of strange homes and no technical difficulties occurred during the reading. Everyone was clear in picture and smooth in language. The reading went off without a hitch for the long-time poet.
Ira Sadoff gave a reading that many will not forget. In closing he said, “Thank you for being here, if you are here, I’m sure someone’s here, you know?” and ended with a small laugh. A friendly man with a great sense of humanity, Ira Sadoff will always be remembered as a fantastic Poet and Man of Letters. We thank you, Professor Ira Sadoff, on behalf of the English Department and the MFA in Creative Writing Program for a fantastic reading and sharing your work with all of us.
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