Summers with my Father

My new poem, "Summers with my Father," was recently published over at The Red Eft Review.   It's a longer poem than I typically write--perhaps because it's highly narrative and employs shorter line lengths to magnify tension. Consider it a coming-of-age poem.  Here's the full text: Summers with my Father He told my mother he brought … Continue reading Summers with my Father

The paradox of poetry

Most would agree with the idea that writing (and reading) poetry connects us to a deeper level of consciousness and meaning in the world. This view is somewhat overly dramatized in this scene from the character John Keating (John Keats, anyone?) in Dead Poet's Society. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ0S7ZJCfWo Hopefully, by now you've realized poetry will not bring … Continue reading The paradox of poetry

How to scan a poem

Despite what we've learned in school, there is no "correct" scan of a poem sitting in a vault somewhere for only English teachers to see.  Often, scansion relies on context, but even then, what one person hears as a stressed syllable another person hears as unstressed.  And within stressed syllables, the degree of stress can … Continue reading How to scan a poem

Working with other poets

Poet Alarie Tennille recently released her new book of poetry, Waking on the Moon. The cool part for me is Alarie used a line from my poem "The Long Dark Moon," for one of her chapter headings. Here the picture of the heading: The original poem was published by Poetry Breakfast in 2016 and can … Continue reading Working with other poets

The Two Coolest Books I Own

Several years ago, I lost count of how many poetry books I have (can you ever have enough?). But there's absolutely no doubt which are my favorites collections. They are always the signed copies.  Sometimes I get lucky enough to stumble into a used bookstore and find one for cheap.  This was the case once … Continue reading The Two Coolest Books I Own

Risk sentimentality, unless you’re as good as Thomas Lux

If we exclude Billy Collins and Mary Oliver, Ted Kooser is probably the most most accessible and well-read poet in America today.   His advice for poets, which you can get for about four bucks used in  The Poetry Home Repair Manual, is to risk being sentimental because at least one's poetry won't be dry … Continue reading Risk sentimentality, unless you’re as good as Thomas Lux

Good Poems: “Bluebird,” by Charles Bukowski

Just finished reading The Essential Bukowski, edited by Abel Debritto.  Ran across Bukowski's wonderful and amazing poem "Bluebird" again. The first time I read the poem, I remember thinking, oh, well this is what Emily Dickinson meant.  The poem gave me chills, made me forget what I was doing for a week, and forced me … Continue reading Good Poems: “Bluebird,” by Charles Bukowski