A lucky American childhood by Paul Engle

By Paul Engle

The legacy of poet Paul Engle, who died in 1991, contains the overseas Writing application on the collage of Iowa, which he helped present in 1967, and the memoir A fortunate American adolescence. Engle grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, throughout the Twenties on a hardscrabble farm the place his kin struggled to make ends meet. now not unavoidably the conventional education floor for a poet and educator, yet Engle reveals in his formative years the uncooked fabrics that formed him not just as a poet yet as anyone besides.

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162 That Fabulous Old Fourth of July 167 Where the World Seems Right and GoodThe Iowa State Fair 173 Our Dangerous Thanksgiving 178 Christmas Eve and My Mother's Hands 182 An Old-Fashioned Christmas 185 Page vi Foreword By Albert E. Stone Paul Engle's A Lucky American Childhood, the twelfth volume in Iowa's Singular Lives series, differs from its predecessors in many respects, most notably in being unabashedly a paean to childhood and adolescence. There is, in addition, the matter of fame. The young Paul, though born to a working-class family in a modest neighborhood of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, became the future Paul Engle, an American poet of international renown, especially in the thirties (Worn Earth, American Song, Break the Heart's Anger) and forties and fifties (Poems in Praise and other collections).

I shot acorns in the autumn and stones in summer with it. I can't remember hitting anything but the side of the barn. The Indian helped at odd jobs around the farm and ate with the family in the kitchen every Sunday. When the first frost came, he simply disappeared. One day he was there whittling or shoveling out the cow barn, and the next day he was gone. But in April he would turn up without warning. Once I asked him where he had been. " Eva left the farm when she married Tom at sixteen. I can only guess what happened to that shy and innocent young girl, but I did once overhear Mother whispering to a cousin, "I grew up with beasts on the farm, but I didn't know about men.

An old Indian, tribe unknown, showed up at the farm each spring, and Grandpa would give him a room in the barn. He hardly spoke any English, but he could carve anything. One time he took a big cowhorn, pale yellow with a black tip, Page 7 carved some animal figures on it, and then fitted a little lid so that it looked like a powder horn. Every spring he made me a slingshot out of a tough hickory crotch. I shot acorns in the autumn and stones in summer with it. I can't remember hitting anything but the side of the barn.

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