I sometimes wonder what it must have been like during The Depression trundling around with the Lomaxes, father and son, through Memphis and the deep South, making field recordings out of their car window of those bards of the barrelhouse and lumber camp. All the poets that the preeminent white culture had never heard of. And even if they had, didn’t much care for.
John and Alan in the prisons, plantations and tin shacks, recording the likes of Bukka White, Robert Johnson, and Leadbelly. Surely they must have felt themselves pinch-me blessed by their good fortune on a regular basis?
Wolf is one of those Essential Poets you’ve never heard of. Maybe you’ve never heard of him because he’s spent most of his non-poet working life as a mental health social worker from which the charity Hyphen-21 and its incredible Poems For project have arisen. Or maybe you’ve just never heard of him because Culture with a capital C (or its latter day WWW-dot equivalent) is generally promulgated by those who shout or write the loudest, blog/tweet/FB the most ardently, or have the best literary agents. Talent helps, of course.
Be that as it may, you’ve heard of him now.