Happy First Birthday! Distinguished poet Bill Pruitt offers “Ode to the Talker”

In Talker invited to the University of Rochester to talk about Talker, we wrote:

Here in the University of Rochester’s Rettner Computer Lab, late last September on a cool Fall evening while magazine designer UR senior Karina Banda was in her apartment, I hit PUBLISH. Afterwards, I confess, I bummed a cigarette from a Lithuanian graduate student, then wandered down to the river for an exultant smoke.

It’s been a year — and 536 articles — since.  And it’s the same then as now: To readers and contributors, much thanks

Today, William Pruitt (who you’ve met before) kindly offers an occasional poem, “Ode to the Talker.”


Happy Birthday, Talker! The dark glam of a self-destructive rocker: Johnny Depp as the 17th-century writer John Wilmot, a k a the second earl of Rochester, in Laurence Dunmore’s film The Libertine.

Bill is a fiction writer, storyteller and poet, and an Assistant Editor with Narrative Magazine. He has published poems in such places as Ploughshares, Anderbo.com and Cottonwood and in recent issues of Off Course, Otis Nebula, and Literary Juice; two chapbooks with White Pine and FootHills; and self-published Walking Home from the Eastman House. Bill has told stories in various places in Rochester and upstate New York, including the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Most recently, he performed his original story, “Two Kinds of Fear,” a completely documented telling about the lives of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass during their time in Rochester. Bill will be performing this story at Rundel in March of next year. His short stories appear in a recent issue of Crack of the Spine Literary Magazine and Midway; and in upcoming issues of Indiana Voice Journal, Sick Lit Magazine and Hypertext.  Bill taught English for 26 years to non-native speakers for BOCES 2 in Spencerport.  He and his wife Pam have two children and two grandchildren.

There is one not widely known fact about Bill. In a previous life, Bill was the famed English poet, the Earl of Rochester. Bill — I mean the Earl of Rochester — was as well known for his rakish lifestyle as his poetry, although the two were often interlinked. On this occasion, Bill channels his inner Johnny Depp.


Ode to the Talker


He doesn’t gab or gawk or stalk,

He doesn’t mostly even talk, the Talker.


He listens. He’s the fly on the wall.

You want our town connected? He’s got it all.


He’s got garage sales & National Cheesecake Day.

Street Art. From LA to ROC, the Moon dress.

Trump painted in menstrual blood? It’s here.

Volunteer trash pickup,

last day for pizza in the park.


Frederick Law Olmsted.

Red spotted salamander.


Hillary as nutcracker, Twilight

steel thighs Criterium,

Men from Vietnam,

soldiers in the war,

from there to here!

Means a different thing to them

from when we say Vietnam War


Frederick Douglass get to Canada!

Virginia sheriff’s got a warrant

Brother, lose yourself among the damselflies.

This will be a World Heritage Site some day.

Talker got words and pictures.

He got fonts up the wamboozle

He got fancy graphics!

He drop names!


He’s out there, the Talker. He doesn’t talk. He shmoozes.

He goes where the leafhoppers go. If rock bass could rap,


If magnolias could warble, if walls could break their silence

he would listen. He would give them a place to speak.

He has. They do. Kin to life around him, he’s invisible.

Kind of looks like Anthony Weiner.

Bill Pruitt

And, of course, Happy Birthday to all the other Talker’s and semi-Talkers: George, Shadi, Athesia, Dean, et al.


Talker staff demands royalties! Buy orbs at Sotheby’s in Brighton: the Meadowbrook Garage Sale. And meet the staff

Talk to me baby. Staff takes the Lip Sync Challenge to support AutismUp

For you, Talker buys the D & C digital archives. And Noam Chomsky