Monday, April 13, 2009

Deborah Digges

In 2004, when Ada and I were hosting the Pete's Big Salmon reading series at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn, Deborah Digges came and read for us with Greg Pardlo. She was one of our Dream Guests—and the prospect of meeting her was a reason we said we'd do the series in the first place. In person, she was gracious, humble, completely down to earth (she was barefoot the entire time, actually), and obviously adored by the family members who accompanied her that night (they seemed as excited as we were to hear her read).

Ada and I are both HUGE fans of her work and have spent many wine filled evenings reading her poems aloud to each other, finishing with, "THAT'S what I'm talking about!" I love the way she risked being so unfashionably emotional and clear. Full of longing and mourning and humor, her expansive yet tightly crafted lines read effortlessly. It's like eating a whole box of See's candy--that easy and that delicious. And there's always a genuine, intelligent surprise in her poems--about why we're here, suffering like we are--that makes me feel better. Especially when it hurts. Deborah Digges didn't just teach us how to write, she taught us what it means to be a human being.

We absolutely loved her.



Alec said...
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Alec said...

Deborah was my aunt. I was always amazed at how she wrote such poignant pieces and was equally amazed at her painting. She was an artist, through and through. It was who she was. She was so fun to be with, especially as I was growing up. She had a contagious laugh. Her oldest son is my age and we all spent a lot of time together, laughing and living life. She will be truly, truly missed. Thank you, Jen, for sharing your experiences.

- Alec Nels

Jen said...

We just loved her, Alec. Whenever we talk about why we got into poetry in the first place, why we ever cared about it, her name is there. We're so sorry for your loss. She will be deeply missed, for she was truly a source of love in the universe.

Maggie May said...

I'm so sorry you lost someone special.

shanna said...

sad news. & your post & poem are sweet.