Eugene Platt was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1939. His poems have appeared in many literary publications and some have been choreographed. He has given over 100 public readings of his work and was invited to read in the inaugural Dublin Arts Festival in 1970. He was the first Poet Laureate of the Town of James Island and was Poet-in-Residence for public radio station WSCI. He lives in Charleston with his main muses: Montreal-born wife Judith, corgi Henry, and cat Keats.
It has taken me a long time to write this. I have had to let the book sit in my stomach until I fully digested it on a macro scale. In doing so, I have asked myself how I can understand the collection as a whole, given that the poems are from many different decades, of all forms, several different themes, and range from heartbreaking to hilarious. Ultimately, I have come to the conclusion that what Eugene Platt offers the world with this book is the gift of the life experiences of an octogenarian distilled with great craft and talent. He had to do a whole lot of living to write this book and it shows.
Throughout time, there have been wunderkinder in most human arts, sciences, and athletics. Years ago, I investigated the topic of child prodigy poets. I discovered that there has been almost no such thing in history. There have been a few instances in the bygone days when people sat in parlors and recited poetry where children were elevated to some level of fame for having skill beyond their years at rhyme and meter—in other words, they were precocious in the structure of poetry, the nuts and bolts of it. But they had nothing much to say or teach, really.
To read through the poems in Nuda Veritas is to be haunted by the memories and introspection of a long lifetime, delivered in such vivid detail and naked honesty that they live in your head and heart for days after putting down the book. My thoughts are alive with a mother disappearing into the gloom of senility, a father’s last ride to the hospital, the unanesthetized pain of divorce, the fleeting years of childhood, and travels to beautiful places imbued with melancholy and comedy. It is reading a collection like this that makes it clear why there are no child prodigies in the field of poetry.
Jim Lundy, President
The Poetry Society of South Carolina