New Recruits Episode 6: Judah Izsak Reads Garry Thomas Morse

If you’re new here, check out Episode 1 for more information about this series and how it works. This week, my brother Judah Izsak reads the final section of Garry Thomas Morse’s “The Rent Annals of Billy the Kid” from  After Jack.

From the moment I came up with the idea for this series, I knew I wanted somebody to read Garry Thomas Morse. I also knew that I didn’t want just anybody to read Garry Thomas Morse. I mean, everybody should read Garry’s work, but I needed a perceptive, clever, and feisty newb to read it for my blog. Judah turned seventeen last week. He’s been an outlaw for as long as I’ve known him. I gave him a choice of all of the sections in Garry’s serial poem. He chose this one. That was a month ago. Yesterday I asked him why he chose section ten. He said, “because it was at the bottom” (I texted Judah the poem options, this was the last one I sent and at the bottom of the list). I think that’s as good a reason as any.

“The Rent Annals of Billy the Kid” is my favourite section in After Jack. Here’s Judah reading the last bit of it—slow this time (because the first take was nearly 10 seconds shorter:

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What was your first impression of the poem?

I thought it was intended for me, and I thought my sister made it

Which line of the poem do you like best?

“Remember when we chewed the phat/ Music of cicadas”


I remember listening to cicadas on camping trips and seeing them shed, phat seemed like a fitting word

What does this poem make you think of?

The midwest 

Are there any words in this poem that you don’t understand?


Would you like to understand them?


Have you encountered a poem like this before? Is this poem different from what you expected poetry to be like? If so, How?

Nope #newrecruit

Do you have any questions for the poet?

Are your referring to the Billy the Kid, or somebody in your life that you refer to as Billy the Kid, or just someone that reminds you of Billy the Kid?


Can I just say that the fact that he thought I made this poem is maybe the best inadvertent compliment I’ve ever received.

Judah Izsak is 17. He is unemployed and he likes vintage posters.

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