R. D. Pohl


While I didn't have the privilege of studying with Irving during my undergraduate or graduate years at the University at Buffalo, I came to know him through friends and associates who had.  Among that group, nearly all revere him as an exacting but supportive teacher, a candid but loyal friend.


As I came to know his work, my appreciation of it grew.  Irving's language bustled with the urgent commerce of neighborhood street life, yet echoed with the lost cadences of the Old World.  He was poet who understood the high art in low comedy, and vice versa.


To the extent that a single contrarian voice can offer aesthetic counterpoint to an entire community, Irving has played that role with respect to Buffalo-based poetics for over four decades.  As a young writer, I was wary of Irving's penchant for irony, the quickness of his wit .  Later, I came to celebrate those qualities as indications of a mind that is agile and a spirit that revels in its contradictions.


As a journalist, I've had the opportunity to review several of Irving's books and to write the occasional overview of his work.  Here is a sampling of those writings.


Many thanks to David Valenzuela of the Buffalo News Library for assisting me in retrieving these pieces.


Happy 80th birthday, Irving!


R.D. (Bob ) Pohl