Tribute to Dick Gallup (1941-2021)

Teachers & Writers Collaborative honors the work of poet Dick Gallup

Teachers & Writers Collaborative honors the work of poet Dick Gallup, who taught with T&W in the early 1970s.

Photo credit: Poetry Society of America (on the right: Dick Gallup, 1961)

“American poet Dick Gallup, once described as a kinder, gentler version of French poet Arthur Rimbaud, died of natural causes on January 27 at his home in San Francisco at the age of 79.

In the 1960s and 1970s Gallup established himself as an important figure in the New York School of poets, publishing collections of his poetry and a play. He was a mainstay in the St. Mark’s Poetry Project community, where he taught a workshop and gave numerous readings. He also taught poetry writing to children, sponsored by Teachers & Writers Collaborative in New York City and by state arts councils in New Jersey, Connecticut, Colorado, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and New York.” Read the full tribute by Ron Padgett via 

Read more about the life and work of Dick Gallup:

Brooklyn Rail: The Beauty of This World Knocked Me Off My Feet

Tulsa Public Radio: Dick Gallup, Part of the “Tulsa School of Poetry” That Thrived in NYC in the ’60s & ’70s, Dies at 79

Recording of the 6/23/76 reading at Naropa with John Ashbery, introduced by Allen Ginsberg

Partial transcript of the 6/23/76 Naropa reading John Ashbery, introduced by Allen Ginsberg

Shelf Awareness

Tulsa World: Dick Gallup, acclaimed member of ‘Tulsa School of Poetry,’ dies


So gay on your lovely head
The hat cradles the specialty
Of the house brand new
And hedged with the flowers
Of the past we have somehow
Got through. If night
Should fold in on us
Here in the day dripping
Down the fire-escapes toward
The ground like poetry
In search of the common man
In all things, smoky and
Vapid insight coming near
To what I can’t keep my eyes
Off, the fragile jaws
Of antique life, a fretful
Crowd of messages delivered
Long ago in the pouring rain
Then night would find us
As we are, bright lives
Dancing in the somber light
Of history, shiny pencils
At the edge of things.

Shiny Pencils at the Edge of Things, poetry by Dick Gallup

Above the Tree Line

It’s a putrid kind of day
To be standing on a corner
Counting pigs
But that’s where it’s at
People going to work
Their faces still asleep
They look porky
Overfed and greedy
A few years ago
At 8:30 in the morning
I’d eat myself some grits and eggs
And feel like shit
The sun hurt my eyes
Hung over on methedrine
Don’t take that stuff anymore
It’ll turn your body into grits
And that’s nowhere for a body
But all those swollen faces
Staring back at me
As if they were looking at themselves
In some reflexive mirror of dreams
Startled into early morning metabolism
I couldn’t take them
Turned into pigs by Capitalism
And a clock
I felt like some ghostly ’40’s hipster
Wondering why everyone was fighting
Over a trough full of mush
I was just a kid
Thought I was out of it
But everyone
Even those sleepy faces
Was backing into a nightmare
And now that we’re here
It seems perfectly natural
To watch the hard edges grow between people
To see everyone
Growling over the scraps of the meal
We’ve gorged ourselves on all these years
It doesn’t matter if I turned away
From the feast
Tacking the hours of the night
When everyone was asleep
As my own
Digging the streets
With an empty stomach
And a typewriter in my head
In the end
It’ll get you where you live
If the neighborhood folds
You can move
If the city turns nasty
You can leave
But if the country goes down
You’ll know it

To find more poems by Dick Gallup, visit the Poetry Society of America.

“Relaxation and “Above The Tree Line” are reprinted by permission from Shiny Pencils at the Edge of Things (Coffee House Press, 2001). Copyright © Dick Gallup 2001.