BORN TO WIN by Woody Guthrie


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Guthrie's folk verses and prose poems are completely indigenous. ""Most times I try to speak it, I never do get it said,"" Woody admits, ""and when I try to plan it, it always slips my plans and slips my tongue. I am trying to be a singer singing without a dictionary, and a poet not bound down with shelves of books."" Woody's been sick in bed the past ten-twelve years, but you wouldn't know it here because these are just small singalong paragraphettes his unbound hand wrote down before he got sick. Nomad Woody is always moving. ""If I could just speak this one unsaid and unspoken word to her, things between us would be the limber and undanced dances they ought to be. Our house and home is crippled and hurt just because of this one word I can't say nor speak...It is the word inside of all of our other words."" When Woody does find the word he can be heartbreaking, as in his description of the death by fire of his four-year-old daughter (who died singing in the hospital), or of the inhuman blinding of Negro soldier Isaac Woodward by white Southern cops. The songs are from no particular region, and whatever the subject, even death, Woody gets into it, gristle, vigor and hootenholler.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1965
Publisher: Macmillan