National Poetry Month: April 4

Happy Thursday!

Today I read Margaret Atwood’s “True Stories.” And here is my true story about this work: this is a poem that has some legacy, and rich history in my life. In my early 20s, I was living in Brockport, an upstate New York town outside of Rochester. I was heavily involved with the State University’s theater/dance departments: taking classes, workshops and often the opportunity to fail better and better in some unique stage production. Every summer, the community players would produce two summer shows- a musical and a dramatic show. This gave me experience to work with professionals (usually from New York City), and even better, the talented kids from the Rochester area. Because I was 20 going on 16, I’d usually bond with these kids, and often after rehearsals, we’d escape in my new Mustang into the big city, take in a live band at Scorgies or dance at Jim’s New Wave Night.

One of these kids, Royd, and I became buddies and really hit it off. He was heading off to Oberlin College that fall, and wanted to be a writer. We’d share our dreams of what that kind of life might be, and the fantasy of someday publishing our work. Lounging by the canal, we talked about our favorite novels that summer, and compared stories of growing up in small towns. After the shows ended, just before he left for Ohio, he passed me a note, and included were the handwritten words to this poem, “True Stories” by Margaret Atwood. I carried that note with me until 1999 when Hurricane Floyd destroyed most of my journals or notes that were written in marker pen. I could still decipher some of the words, but not the smeared author or title of the poem. And Royd and I had been out of touch for years, our ways lead on to ways, and so on…

Then, with the advent of social media, and Facebook…I tracked him down! And I was able to ask him about the note and poem. And voila! Here it is. Thanks, Royd! Thanks Margaret! Thanks life!

I hope you enjoy “True Stories” by Margaret Atwood:

Robert Vaughan reads “True Stories” by Margaret Atwood – YouTube

What have you lost that you thought might never make its way back to you? Has it? Will it?


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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8 Responses to National Poetry Month: April 4

  1. says:

    Great reading, enjoyed it and I LOVE the hat!!!!! I am so happy you were able to track him down.

    xoxo Glo

    > On April 4, 2013 at 11:23 AM Robert Vaughan > wrote: > > Robert Vaughan posted: “Happy Thursday! Today I read Margaret Atwood’s “True > Stories.” And here is my true story about this work: this is a poem that has > some legacy, and rich history in my life. In my early 20s, I was living in > Brockport, an upstate New York town outside of ” >

  2. Andrea says:

    Great story! Love Ms. Atwood too. YAY Scorgies and New Wave night at Jim’s…great memories!!! What I lost / was stolen an old photo of my sister and I as children…no negative…lost forever. It never will be found. But, my love for my sister is endless.

  3. megtuite says:

    Another exquisite poem and exquisite read, Robert! And I LOVE the story behind this one and what it means to you. Thank you for sharing!

    • Meg, I wondered when I selected this poem how many writers already knew Atwood, and then how many of them even know about this single collection of her poetry. It is among my favorites. I often open my Fiction or Poetry workshops with this poem, as you can see why. Thanks for your lovely support- means the world to me! xoxo

  4. Anonymous says:

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    Your site provided us with valuable info to work on.
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