Preface

Welcome and thanks for visiting!  Though I’m innately partial to meter and rhyme, herein you will find poems of ranging moods, forms, and standpoints.  A handful of the poems were written in my 20s, following a massive nervous breakdown, but most were conceived in late middle age.  All of the poems I consider “in progress” or subject to the epiphanous “right word” that may have eluded me in the original.  About my poetic theory:  Several poems, I admit, teeter on doggerel—but as I see it, no muse-priming doggerel, no issue of near perfect poems from the well  (I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which), and sometimes no fun. A caution: I rarely intentionally write for the reader’s edification, although to be sure there are many poems in which my personal phenomenology, even in extremis, doubtless resonates with the universal human condition.  Dostoevsky as poet, so to speak.  In this regard,  I note that the literary critic Harold Bloom tends to valorize poets who “ help us lead our lives.”  For myself, I have yet to read a poet that trustworthy, perhaps with the exception of Dickinson, a case of hermetic humanity. And Patrick Gillespie, the Vermont carpenter poet, whose poems bespeak a normal-guy comfort quality I rarely see in my own, together with the scholar-poet Jefferson Holdridge, particularly his deeply intertextual “Madonna Lactans.”  In the real rough and tumble of things, we get rejected, beat down, insulted, defeated, betrayed, fired, unemployable, destitute, displaced, impotent, embittered, vengeful and it tells—in my poems as theories of mind. You will encounter in these poems many standpoints that shift in almost whipsaw fashion (sometimes within a single poem) from lyrical to academic, warm to arrogant, sweet to cynical, gentle to violent, philosophical to breezy, lighthearted to severe, fragile to invincible; cosmo to Confederate, from brooding Incel to resistless chick magnet among other dualisms. Such is life in the arena.  But, at best, you may also encounter in these evolving polarities a Hegelian-styled dialectic of sorts, taking us contrapuntal thesis by anti-thesis to, if not perfect redemption, at least some measure of one, that “palm at the end of the mind” as Wallace Stevens described it– though for me today, I should confess, that soothing frond will probably be a treadmill.    Nevertheless, a shout-out to Bloom’s metric in spite of myself.   Again, thanks for stopping by.   Feel free to comment on individual poems or my oeuvre in general.  I hope to add more poems in the future.  Oh, and special props to PoemShape for modeling some of the best poetry analysis I’ve ever read and providing a vital inspiration to my effort here.  Whatever our divergent politics, it’s wonderful how poetry can provide a basis for common interest that transcends our differences.