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

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

see Cheesecake is good for you at National Cheesecake Day at Cheesy Eddie’s

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

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


Like what you see on our site? We’d appreciate your support. Please donate today.

Featured Posts


%d bloggers like this: