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     Introduction to the Collection | 1. The Early Years | 2. The Meat Boy | 3. The Boy Made of Meat

The Boy Made of Meat was written by W. D. Snodgrass and published by William Ewert.

William B. Ewert (b. 1943) earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree at the University of New Hampshire. In 1970 he became science consultant to the New Hampshire Department of Education, and eventually served as assistant to the commissioner. He was chair of the Friends of the UNH Library from 1975 to 1990, and again from 1998 until his death in October 2001. In 1999 he received the Granite State Award, given by the University of New Hampshire for service to the state. He was also a trustee of the Robert Frost Foundation and was considered an expert on the work and life of the late poet laureate. Ewert's first publication was "Witness" and it appeared in December of 1978.

William De Witt Snodgrass (b. 1926) won the Pulitzer Prize for his volume of poems Heart's Needle in 1960. He has published over thirty works of poetry and prose, and has worked with artist De Loss McGraw on several titles, including The Death of Cock Robin (1989), and published translations of songs and poetry from many languages, including Romanian and Spanish. In addition, Snodgrass has held faculty posts at several institutions, including Cornell, the University of Rochester, and the University of Delaware.

W. D. Snodgrass wrote "The Boy Made of Meat" in the early 1960's, but it remained unpublished until 1983. In his Publication Announcement, William Ewert related the story of how the poem came to be published:

This 134-line poem was originally drafted. for the series of children's books that Louis Untermeyer was editing for Collier's. Upon receipt of an early version of the poem, Untermeyer wrote to Snodgrass that if he would "accept the suggested condensation," then, in his  opinion, "The Boy Made of Meat" "will be one of the very best of a  rather spectacular series." Although Snodgrass produced two more  versions of the poem in the months that followed, he was unwilling to make the major cut that Untermeyer wanted. On July 28, 1962, he wrote to Untermeyer that "I don't, on the other hand, feel I can give up my cannibalism section - for me that would quite emasculate the poem - if I may commit a compound pun, take the meat out of the poem." As a result, the poem was not published. In August 1980, Bill Heyen and I came across a manuscript Copy of "The Meat Boy" (as the poem was first entitled). in Special Collections at the University of New Hampshire Library. At that time,  I wrote to Snodgrass and he responded that he "would be very much  interested, indeed," in having me do a limited edition of his "children's  poem of so many years ago."

It took nearly three years for the book to be published. Snodgrass reworked the poem several times before he was satisfied with it. He both added to it and shortened it, and the title evolved from the original "The Meat Boy," to "The Boy Made Out of Meat," to the final version, "The Boy Made of Meat." Ewert had the book designed by C. Freeman Keith of the Stinehour Press in Vermont and added illustrations by wood cut artist Gillian Tyler.

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