David Foster Wallace’s Handwritten Grade-School Poem


Our friends at Slate’s Browbeat blog point us to an amazing find: a childhood poem by David Foster Wallace. It’s an odd, melancholy, little piece about his hard-working mom, with an antiquated feel (“My moth-/er Works So hard/So hard and for bread she needs some lard”). Writer Justine Tal Goldberg stumbled upon the handwritten poem while researching an article in Wallace’s archives at the University of Texas’s Harry Ransom Center. See the poem after the jump, click over to Goldberg’s post for her perceptive analysis, and if you’re longing to read more of DFW’s mature work, don’t forget that his posthumous novel The Pale King comes out tomorrow.

Text: “My mother works so hard so hard and for bread. She needs some lard. She bakes the bread. And makes the bed. And when she’s threw she feels she’s dayd.”

Image via Write by Night