Our 4th birthday and Bill Pruitt’s “Happy Birthday Talker!”

Our 4th birthday and Bill Pruitt’s “Happy Birthday Talker!”

[Photo: David Kramer, 9/29/19]

Over the last four years, Bill Pruitt has delighted and challenged us with prose, poetry and story telling performances, including his baseball prognostications that this season seem remarkably prescient.  Over the years, in the tradition of occasional poetry, Bill has also wished Talker a happy birthday. Today is his fourth edition (see the other years below).

Happy Birthday Talker!

What would Talker be without the Perfect August Sunday
Joining tens of thousands to watch the Air Show
The Rochester International Air Show
The Thunderbirds, The F-16s, the Fighting Falcons
As they roared and thundered over the city,
stopping walkers in their tracks to look
But Talker does not just report— it asks
How would this show go over with those with PTSD?
What if you were a Londoner in the blitz?
What if you had been a villager near Da Nang?
Talker doesn’t report on only one reality, but alternate ones,
the perfect August Sunday, and the ones which aren’t

Talker writes poems. “A Phone Call to Manhattan”
melancholy poignant about the one that got away
making art which becomes part of the story which is Rundelmania,
Rundelmania.com that is, the Digital Literary Arts Journal
of the Rochester Public Library, which in effect makes Talker
kin to Poe Whitman Melville, old journalists
whose work appeared in newspapers in the days
when art was not inimical to news, which reminds me
how art is always on Talker’s mind, you can’t get away from it,

whether it’s the review of Bonnie Gloris’ portraits
of painters and authors hanging on the walls of Rundel,
which allowed her a lively exchange with Talker about
Nin and Miller and Updike and Kahlo and Nabokov

or about the Dryden screening of “Inherit the Wind,” with Talker
keenly deeming “the classic a relevant critique of Trump,”
with a character based on Mencken as journalist-critic

and how sports is not far behind art whether it’s
East high baseball winning championships
or Eugene Kramer running from classroom
to get an autograph from Babe Ruth

or noting the passing of Frank Robinson who managed in Rochester, who won
MVPs in both leagues, and of the beloved Eugene himself whose work
took on the tasks of transportation and housing in cities, who not only loved
music, (collector of vintage jazz records), but made it on piano
and trumpet, jamming with friend Louis Armstrong,
passing after a “long and good life” in Talker’s words.
Well done, Eugene! Well done, Talker!


Bill Pruitt’s Third Birthday gift: “What You Know If You Read Talker”

Happy 2nd Birthday Talker and “Talker Birthday Jeremiad” from Bill Pruitt

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

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.


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