Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pittsburgh Poet


This week, The Wall Street Journal reported on Pittsburgh poet Billie Nardozzi (front page, below the fold).  I read it while riding the A train, loving the chance to learn about a quintessential Pittsburgher.

A bit of James R. Hagerty's story:

... His style is plain spoken, his inspirations diverse. He writes about anything from the comfort of a loyal dog to the pain caused by insensitive relatives. His verse tends to be low on angst. “I hate negativity,” says Mr. Nardozzi, who often writes his poems, longhand, on a lined legal notepad in his home office.

Some of his poems pay tribute to individuals. A recent one, for instance, is dedicated to Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto:

He’s great for this city

And he’s what we have needed

And his ideas for change

Should always be heeded

Mayor Peduto said he has a framed copy of the poem, mailed to him by Mr. Nardozzi, on his office wall. Representatives of the Queen of England, the Prince of Wales and Conan O’Brien all sent thank-you notes for poems dedicated to them.

Given his penchant for the Beatles, he once penned an ode to the people of the United Kingdom. That poem, called “The British,” reads, in part:

I think you’re the coolest people

Living on this earth

And honestly and seriously speaking

I really think it is there from birth

And you write the most beautiful songs

That I have ever heard in my life

For they speak of passionate love

Between a gentleman and his wife

Many of his poems are published online by the Arkansas Free Press, which welcomes contributions but doesn’t pay for them. “Billie is our most prolific writer,” said Tracy Crain, editor of the Free Press. “He has a very tender heart, and he really has a need to share.” ...
For more, check out this Tumblr page dedicated to Billie's poems.