While G.E. Patterson's poetry evokes clear and precise imagery, finding something detailed to say about the poet himself is a challenge. A search of the web draws up the following biography:
G.E. Patterson grew up in the middle of the country along the Mississippi River and was educated in the mid-South, the Midwest, the Northeast, and the western United States.
Fortunately, Patterson's poetry needs no pedigree to prove its worth. Here's a poem from Tug.
Before you keep reading ...
MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.
The Lord let me know early in the day
trouble was coming when He sent a woman
toward me in a tight dress, snapping gum
and working her hips hard. He turned her head
to the right just as I moved close enough
to say hello. She wasn't all that fine,
but I sure could have used a different start
to my day. Seven A.M. and no love.
The Lord followed up fast with a black man
in a red, double-breasted suit and shoes
with monkstraps. Their high shine sent the sunlight
straight into my eyes, blinding me. The dog
patrolling the front yard where I passed them
tried to run me away from his fence, snarling.
I stared at God's signs. Here's what you can't have:
A regular woman, nice clothes, peace.
My hand in my pocket, fingering change.
- "Job" by G.E. Patterson, as printed by Graywolf Press in the collection Tug. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.