The best of these later, more mature pieces combine the concision of poetry with a deadpan aversion to meter that keeps whimsy and sentimentality at bay. As a writer bobbing in the wake of medievalism, I particularly like this poem from “African Nights”:
The Banjo PlayerThere is music in me, the music of a peasant people.
I wander through the levee, picking my banjo and singing my
songs of the cabin and the field. At the Last Chance Saloon
I am as welcome as the violets in March; there is always
food and drink for me there, and the dimes of those who
love honest music. Behind the railroad tracks the little
children clap their hands and love me as they love Kris
But I fear that I am a failure. Last night a woman called me a
What is a troubadour?