Song of the Week: “Gulf Shores” by Will Oldham

My fiancé Cheryl just wrote me an email titled “The Disappointment of My Life.” It contains a link to an Awl article on Will Oldham’s put down of poetry in a 2012 Poetry magazine essay.  David Berman told a small crowd including me at the Corcoran in 2008 that he quit writing poetry because it didn’t matter.  That broke my heart. America is indifferent to poetry.  Well, fuck you, America. Who cares what you think? But when weirdo artists like Oldham put down poetry, it stings. And it stings more when your fellow poets put you down in lazy, offhand ways. Or just put your book in a pile of books living in a long unread silence. We need  love. It needs to feel like real love. I played the Will Oldham song “Gulf Shores” at my father’s wedding to his second wife, who is now dead. He said he liked the song and wanted me to play it again. It’s about letting the family down. Will Oldham knows he’s letting us down, as sweetly as he can. As I’m typing this, Cheryl tells me, “You know what? I’m having trouble listening to him now.”

-Joe Hall

Joe Hall is the author of the books The Devotional PoemsPigafetta Is My Wife, and, with Chad Hardy, The Devotional Poems Vols I & II.

Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?

Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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