Hayden Carruth Poems

Hayden Carruth (1921-2008) was an American poet, literary critic, and anthologist known for his wide-ranging work and lifelong engagement with tradition. He won the National Book Award in 1996 and was recognized as an important proponent of twentieth-century modernism.

Carruth’s poetry, characterized by controlled language and a blend of form and emotion, received critical acclaim, although opinions on his work varied. He also wrote essays, reviews, a novel, and edited anthologies. Carruth’s poems often explored rural poverty, rural life in Vermont, and themes of loneliness, madness, and death.

Notes on Poverty

by Hayden Carruth

‘Notes on Poverty’ by Hayden Carruth is a short poem summarizing the meaning of poverty in one experience.

Hayden Carruth wrote 'Notes on Poverty' to recount his early days living in poverty. The poem is autobiographical and remains part of Carruth's collection, "Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey." The poem is a good example of his verse and his interest in engaging with themes of struggle, poverty, and day-to-day life.

Was I so poor

in those damned days

that I went in the dark

in torn shoes

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