I’ve been writing poetry most of my life, but began seriously something like 25 years ago at university–in Dr. Mary Brown’s creative writing course, to be exact. I’ve searched but it seems that everything in my notebooks before that was sing-songy sap. I still laugh when I remember how, in my journal for that class, I wrote that I felt I had finally written a good poem, and how Dr. Brown replied in the margin, “Great! I’d like to see it.” Well, she didn’t mean it as harshly as it sounds, but it certainly gave me motivation to make sure that even the poems in the journal were more noticeably well written after that.
In years since there was a lot of life lived–divorce, coming out, another long-term relationship, another break up, career changes. And along the way I kept writing, sometimes online, sometimes in journals, but rarely did I submit a word anywhere, until 2002 or 2003 after returning to school. That’s when the poem at the bottom of this page won an award from Bloomsburg U. and the Academy of American Poets. Maybe not a big deal, but it was a 100 dollar check, my first payment for a poem, and I should add, one of the few so far.
Eventually I started getting poems out there in tiny fits and starts, and now find myself in the midst one of my most active periods of both writing and submitting. I have a couple of different chapbook manuscripts making their rounds through contests, so hopefully there will be a report of success here on that front eventually.
About the Poetry, Mine and Much More
I don’t self-publish many of my own poems here on the blog. There are a great many excellent poetry blogs that do just that, but showcasing my work myself is not why I am here. Partly that’s because I enjoy celebrating poetry as an art overall, and partly because most journals and zines consider a poem found via Google to be “previously published,” and therefore undesirable for their purposes.
I am intent right now on sending my work out to other publications, hoping to get them to publish my work for me, and thereby reach, eventually, a larger audience than I can with just the blog. And honestly, if I can get someone else to put up the cash to publish my first chapbook, all the better. Even if it does cost me a small fortune in submission fees, it won’t be more than it would cost me to self-publish and promote on my own. I am not writing Fifty Shades of Grey after all. Instead I am trudging the impossible path of trying to build a bio and a reputation.
I know that’s not how everybody works. I know that’s not everyone’s desire. And I don’t disparage self-publishing at all. It just doesn’t fit with my goals, my dreams, or my intentions at this point (Read this as, “Please stop telling me I should self-publish”).
I will, however provide links to my own works if they are published online, or links (fingers crossed) for you to find copies in print. On rare occasions I have featured a poem here if I felt it was uniquely fit for the Dad Poet blog. Even more rarely, there will be a poem now and then that will disappear so that I can rework it and send the polished version out for a jaunt on the poetry submission circuit.
The main purpose of this blog when I started it was to celebrate the things that bring me joy (with a view toward keeping my writing muscles limber), and that includes the best of the poetic tradition, both contemporary and classic. You’ll find many readings here, on my YouTube channel, and on my SoundCloud stream, of what I consider great poems by poets both dead and alive, usually not at the same time, however.
But if you are looking for original poems by me, I thank you for the interest! Please keep reading. My recently published poems will be found in the main blog under the category Recently Published. Whereas announcements about poems that have been accepted for upcoming publication will show up under Poetry.
An incomplete list of my poems
available online in one form or another:
- “Years Later,” published along with two other poems of mine in the Tic Toc Anthology, which you can read online, or order in print from Kind of a Hurricane Press.
- Three poems in Contemporary American Voices, with featured poet Brian Fanelli.
- “God, Dad and Cars,” in the Blue Hour Magazine.
- Two poems in Word Fountain.
- A Fortune Cookie Poem.
- And another Fortune Cookie Poem.
- A Found Poem.
- A few poems read at Riverfest, Sunbury, PA.
- Two more poems at Riverfest.
- Me reading with Melanie Simms and Marjorie Maddox.
- Two pieces I read at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building.
- A silly poem for my youngest son, read at Faustina’s Gallery in Lewisburg, PA.
- Audio of me reading two of my poems on the air on WITF, Harrisburg.
- An old sonnet for my oldest son.
- My dear friend Ygor Raduy reading my poem “Decorum.”
- Playlists of a few of my original pieces: YouTube, Soundcloud.
- The old moon poem to which the following poem refers.
- And the gorgeous Frances Uku reading “Overvision:”
Overvision I wrote a poem once about my neighbors and the moon. Each brief line dropped into place as I let them break at their will. The syntax arranged itself just comfortably so. Years later I came back with more education and a better sense of rhythm. I thought I could improve it; make the lines more powerful, the innuendos more profound. But the new ink was too dark for the old page, and my good intentions discolored the moon. I’d awakened a befuddled old man and his angry, fuzzy- slippered wife (I’d forgotten that my old neighbors had moved away long ago). They wanted to know what the hell was going on—who was I? And what had I done to the sky? Too late almost to save it, I took whiteout to the street (the last bottle on the shelf at the all-night mini mart on that same block), dimmed the stars and ushered back to bed the little man and his grumbling wife. That globe of blood still had a pulse— thank heaven, and I let it return to where it had been; on page one of a college literary magazine simple and perfect, hanging low there in that early night sky.