The Old Neighborhood – Part V – Poems & Arrowheads

Memories / Monday, May 9th, 2011

Our house was a duplex that my folks owned and we had only a few different people live there over the years. My cousin Karen and her family lived there for a while and I actually moved back to the side of the house for a brief time as I got older. The family that lived there the longest was The Beaudoins. They consisted of Kenneth and his mother, who’s name escapes me. I just called her Ms Beaudoin. Kenneth was a somewhat famous poet and the founder of the Poetry Society of Tennessee. He was the creator of the ‘eye poem’ which is the practice of using words and images cut out of magazines and pasted together in a collage poem.

He was eccentric before I knew what that term meant. They had pieces of wood with hundreds of arrowheads attached to them displayed over every inch of their walls. He was a prolific writer and in 1976 was named Poet Laureate of the River. His work was widely published in England, Wales, France, West Germany, Greece, Italy, India, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. He dedicated at least one book to me when I was 13 or 14, I believe the title was Moon on Jefferson Street but I have long since misplaced it.

He ran an art gallery in Greenwich Village in the 40’s and worked for the Memphis Police Department in the Criminal Intelligence Division from 1950 until 1980. Both the University of Syracuse and University of Memphis house collections of his papers and manuscripts.

He passed away on March 19, 1995 of complications from diabetes, he was 81.

The next time your child does one of those projects for school that includes magazine cutouts glued to poster board, say a small thank you to Mr Beaudoin.

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