Monday, January 30, 2012
H.L. Van Brunt: A Missing Poet
In about 1973 a poet named HL Van Brunt came to Stroudsburg High School in NE Pennsylvania where I was a junior. He read a poem about Roadkill and a few other poems and then asked us to write a poem. I did, but don't remember what it was about, just that it was written on a lunch bag. He had asked us to write on white plain paper, and was glad I had broken his one rule. Does anybody know this poet's work? He came from rural Oklahoma but worked in the New York and Pennsylvania school system. His last name indicates a Dutch ancestry but he also writes extensively about Native Americans in the one volume I possess: For Luck (Carnegie Mellon, 1976). He was once famous and had books not only at Carnegie Mellon Press but also at the Smith, and taught in high schools as a peripatetic poet for several decades. He was born in 1936, and his initials stand for Harold Lloyd, indicating he might have been named for the once famous comedian. However, his poems are generally somewhat morbid, and often about animals killing each other, or having something to do with death. He wore a goatee, had a relatively flat face, had a nice suit but appeared disheveled, he was older but somehow looked like an innocent boy. It was summer, but he looked and felt like winter.