Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Search For The Drunkest Poet In The World!

"I have written much less than most people who write, but I have drunk much more than most people who drink." -Guy Debord

We all know that poets are for the most part notorious drunks, but who is the greatest drunkard in the history of poetry? Berryman with his besotted sonnets? How about Baudelaire? Hart Crane? You know, one anagram for "Dylan Thomas" is "Thy Soma Land." Of course there's always Poe. And I'm sure Catullus liked to tie one on now and then. So, folks, who in your mind is the worst drunk in the history of poetry, and why? Anybody from Sappho up to now is fair game. "When poets drink they surely fall, / but who's the fellest of them all?" Come on folks, this poll is easy as pineapple rum.


Anonymous midnightscholar said...

My vote has to go to Hart Crane. I just finished Clive Fisher's new bio of Crane; the poor bastard seemed to have been good at only two things in his life: writin' and drinkin', and in the end he chose the latter over the former.

11:29 AM, June 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bukowski wasn't much of a poet, but he was a world-class, 24/7 drunk. Anne Sexton could really put 'em down too. Incidently, she was also in a short-lived rock band called "Anne Sexton and Her Kind."

12:29 PM, June 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Lux?

12:29 PM, June 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Hart Crane's case, though, he ended up in more than he could drink.

12:48 PM, June 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theodore Roethke? Didn't he die drunk in a friend's swimming pool?

1:11 PM, June 29, 2005  
Blogger Dr. Vivian Bell said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:23 PM, June 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edna St. Vincent Millay was drinking her gin, walked down the stairs, fell, broke her neck & died. But at least she didn't spill a drip of her cocktail.

1:31 PM, June 29, 2005  
Anonymous midnightscholar said...

Lowell, Sexton, Berryman, Roethke, Plath . . . all of the so-called "Confessional" poets drank like fish in fear of suffocating . . . .

3:14 PM, June 29, 2005  
Blogger Ginger Pennebaker said...

FYI: While Roethke may have been drunk while swimming that fateful pool, it seems that the official cause of death is universally listed as a heart attack.

5:41 PM, June 29, 2005  
Blogger Snark said...

Whaddya mean "worst" drunk?

6:15 PM, June 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Current poets:

James Tate? (always had that coke can in class that smelled suspiciously of something that was not coke)

Franz Wright? (saw him toss back unbelievable levels of vodka once. I thought he was drinking water until I got closer)

Bill Knott? (one of the truly pickled)

Linda Gregg? (good at hiding her bottles and getting others to pick up the tab; apt to ramble about all the men she's blown and her poor degraded life if you fill her glass enough)

I could go on.

6:02 AM, June 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was always amused by the 60s poets who eschewed drink for the harder stuff like benzedrine, LSD experimentation and snorting, or shooting, a little heroin (that's downtown, buddy).

A lot of these guys, Ted Berrigan and Tom Clark for example, were of Irish heritage and wanted to transcend the Tribal Curse of alcoholism. They also seemed to despise Dylan Thomas...but perhaps that says more about kill daddy generational politics than anything else.

Poets are lovely specimens of humanity! Snark on....

1:52 PM, June 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I propose we award the first "Face Down in the Heather" prize for poetry-- to be given to the most over-the-top drunk currently on the scene. We already have plenty of nominees.

We can even have categories: The Pickled Man (who should be dead by now); The Aging Weeping Poetess, etc.

5:56 AM, July 02, 2005  
Blogger Ginger Pennebaker said...

Thanks, everybody, for your suggestions. Like several of you, I have to cast my vote for Hart Crane. Not only did he curse his friends, fuck strangers, get in fights, and try to kill himself all while under the influence, but he did it under the reign of Prohibition, sucking down gallons of rotgut bootleg cider to get his kicks. So here's to you Hart Crane [raising our glasses] were one hardcore motherfucker!

7:24 PM, July 05, 2005  

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