Two Poems by Joseph Millar

In his Willow Springs profile, Joseph Millar says his poem “1972,” published originally in Willow Springs 73 “is really just a nostalgic fragment for an old saloon outside Philadelphia, where I hung out as a young man. I think many of us, maybe men in particular, share this memory of a place one could go to pass the time in the company of like-minded knuckleheads, before adult life grabbed hold of us and we became more ‘stable’ and ‘mature.'”

Millar’s other poem from WS73, “Next to Godliness,” is likewise inspired by male knuckleheadedness and fantasy, though of a more sinister sort. Millar once worked with a man who had grown up with Jim and Art, the Mitchell brothers, who became pioneering producer/directors in the early adult film industry. “The Mitchells’ rise to success,” Millar says, “came to an end when Jim shot Artie to death in 1985. I wrote a poem for them—I still think they were an American phenomenon.” Millar’s interest in the two of them led to “further study of porn stars, their lives and their ways of survival.” As for “Next to Godliness,” Millar says, “these thoughts went into that poem, under the surface of it: the narrator watching women in springtime, the undercurrent of sexual fantasy.”

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