A "tale of the tribe" (Ezra Pound's phrase for his own longer work), Park Songs is set in a down-and-out Midwestern park where people from all walks of life gather. In this small green space surrounded by a great gray city, the park provides a refuge for its caretaker (and resident poet), street preachers, retirees, moms, hustlers, and teenagers. Interspersed with blues songs, the community speaks through poetic monologues and conversations, while the homeless provide the introductory chorus-their collective voices becoming an epic tale of comedy and tragedy.
Full of hard-won wisdom, unexpected humor, righteous (if occasionally misplaced) anger, and sly tenderness, their stories show us how people learn to live with mistakes and make connections in an antisocial world. As the poem/play engages us in their pain and joy-and the goofy delight of being human-it makes a quietly soulful statement about desire, acceptance, and community in our lives.
David Budbill was born in Cleveland, Ohio and has worked as a carpenter's apprentice, short order cook, Christmas tree farm day laborer, mental hospital attendant, church pastor, teacher, and occasional commentator on NPR's All Thing Considered. He is also the award-winning author of twelve books of poems, six plays, a novel, a collection of short stories, an opera libretto, and a picture book for children. His books include the bestselling Happy Life (Copper Canyon, 2011) and Judevine, a collection of narrative poems that forms the basis for the play Judevine, which has been performed in twenty-two states. He lives in the mountains of northern Vermont, where he tends his garden. R. C. Irwin is a half-Italian, half-Irish native San Franciscan with an ironic and nostalgic view of life. He is the Photography Editor for Exterminating Angel Press and teaches at San Francisco City College when he isn't busy observing the world around him.