Cover image for We didn't come here for this : a memoir in poetry
We didn't come here for this : a memoir in poetry
Patrick, William B., 1949-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Brockport, N.Y. : BOA Editions, 1999.
Physical Description:
111 pages : portraits ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3566.A7884 W4 1999X Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Poetry. Memoir. We Didn't Come Here For This is a triumph. Patrick's best and strongest work yet. I couldn't put it down -- the narrative is riveting. The form and technique are masterful, and the poems very moving. I congratulate Bill Patrickz on a wonderful achievement (Richard Selzer). This memoir in verse chronicles the author's life from his birth through his childhood and youth. William Patrick has taught creative writing at numerous schools, and is currently teaching for The Writers Voice in Silver Bay, New York, and for Alternative Literary Programs.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Unlike long spiritual autobiographies, from Wordsworth's Prelude to Ginsberg's Kaddish, Patrick's "memoir in poetry" strives to revive what "actually" happened. Each longish poem in it is dated and paired with a photograph of the incident the poem explores. All but the last poem is in the voice of either Patrick as Billy, his father, Jim, or his mother, Betty. In the final poem all three speak from the year they met Jayne Mansfield, which was also the year of Billy's first serious impure acts, duly confessed to a priest who screams at him. As a kid, Billy is regular enough, but the family isn't, though Billy thinks it is. Jim, whose maimed, alcoholic father brutalized him, is torn between toughening his sons and showing them affection. Betty, after the sudden death of her third son and the cerebral palsy of the fourth, withdraws from Jim, who at last guiltily and dangerously cheats on her. This powerful chamber suite for father, mother, and son begs to be performed. Public readers and actors, take note. --Ray Olson