Alan Dugan--American

 


Alan Dugan 
(1923-2003)

 

Dugan is one of America’s most celebrated poets in his field, but nonetheless, is little known outside literary circles. Born in 1923, he grew up in Queens, New York and served in World War II. His experiences in the war influenced much of his writing. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1962 for his book Poems and two National Book Awards. Poems was chosen for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. His other volumes of poetry were all named simply, Poems 2, Poems 3, etc. There were seven volumes in total. The seventh volume won Dugan his second National Book Award. He won the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry in 2002. He died at the age of 80 in 2003.

How We Heard the Name
 
The river brought down
dead horses, dead men
and military debris,
indicative of war
or official acts upstream,
but it went by, it all
goes by, that is the thing
about the river. Then
a soldier on a log
went by. He seemed drunk
and we asked him Why
had he and this junk
come down to us so
from the past upstream.
''Friends,'' he said, ''the great
Battle of Granicus
has just been won
by all of the Greeks except
the Lacedaemonians and
myself: this is a joke
between me and a man
named Alexander, whom
all of you ba-bas
will hear of as a god.''