Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

The Basics:
About Emdashes | Email us

Before it moved to The New Yorker:
Ask the Librarians

Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule


Patricia Goedicke, 75, Has Died

Filed under: Looked Into   Tagged: ,

The acclaimed poet and iconic University of Montana professor died July 14. Her late husband was the New Yorker writer Leonard Wallace Robinson. Further links to follow; for now, the obituaries from The Missoulian and the Missoula Independent. From the latter:

Goedicke was last mentioned in the Independent almost a year ago (see “A Life Remembered,” Sept. 22, 2005 [link to piece includes wonderfully glamorous photo of Goedicke and Robinson]) when she spoke about Now and Zen: A Life, the posthumously published collection of haikus by her late husband, poet and novelist Leonard Wallace Robinson. Goedicke’s reading of Now and Zen at last year’s Festival of the Book would be the last time many would hear her read. Of her late husband’s haikus, Goedicke once said, “They’re acorns fallen from a rather short but truly giant oak tree. I know, because I have the privilege of living in its shade.” Though Goedicke applied the metaphor to her husband, it’s one that her community, her students and her peers can apply to her: her poems are acorns left to us and her life provided a shade in which we once had the privilege of finding shelter.

Poems by Goedicke reprinted online (please alert me if any of these poems contain errors, and if you know of any others):

The Reading Club [Academy of American Poets]
Cousins [Ploughshares]
What the Skin Knows [Ploughshares]
Big Top [Ploughshares]
In the Middle of the Worst Sickness [Ploughshares]
Without Looking [Poemhunter]


I hope it isn't too crass to be gently (and tangentially) critical of an obituary writer in a memorial note—I know well how hard it is to write obituaries, since you're usually working against the clock with editors literally panting with agitation around you—but I don't think Post staff writer Patricia Sullivan has it quite right here: "Unlike the two-fisted [Richard] Hugo's paeans to the working-class life and nature in the Northwest, Ms. Goedicke's work reaches out, open-handed, to those around her." In fact, Hugo reached out constantly, if not always successfully. Branded as a regional poet, he spoke for everyone with a heart and a treacherous memory. Fish too, of course. But it's the easiest thing in the world to assign two poets exaggerately opposite qualities, and goodness knows we have enough troubles without that.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, it may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Thanks for waiting.)

2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree