While G.E. Patterson’s poetry evokes clear and precise imagery, finding something detailed to say about the poet himself is a challenge. A search of the web draws up the following biography:
G.E. Patterson grew up in the middle of the country along the Mississippi River and was educated in the mid-South, the Midwest, the Northeast, and the western United States.
Fortunately, Patterson’s poetry needs no pedigree to prove its worth. Here’s a poem from Tug.
The Lord let me know early in the day
trouble was coming when He sent a woman
toward me in a tight dress, snapping gum
and working her hips hard. He turned her head
to the right just as I moved close enough
to say hello. She wasn’t all that fine,
but I sure could have used a different start
to my day. Seven A.M. and no love.
The Lord followed up fast with a black man
in a red, double-breasted suit and shoes
with monkstraps. Their high shine sent the sunlight
straight into my eyes, blinding me. The dog
patrolling the front yard where I passed them
tried to run me away from his fence, snarling.
I stared at God’s signs. Here’s what you can’t have:
A regular woman, nice clothes, peace.
My hand in my pocket, fingering change.
– “Job” by G.E. Patterson, as printed by Graywolf Press in the collection Tug. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.