April 20, 2023
Recently I've been marketing my newly published book of poetry Bourbon and Branch Water published by Kelsay Books in February. The book is for sale at Kelsay, www.kelsaybooks.com, on Amazon and on this website where you'll receive a signed copy. I've sent a lot of emails to friends an acquaintances and am just started to give readings. My first was two nights ago at our small library in Dixon. I'm giving another on May 3rd at 8 pm Eastern Time, 5 pm Pacific. To join, use this invitation.
Zoom Meeting Invitation
Meeting ID: 575 758 0081 Passcode: SOMOS
It has been humbling to receive so many messages from people who've enjoyed the poems. Because they are very intimate and raw I've felt a bit naked sending them out into the world, let alone reading them before friends and strangers. Still, people have responded warmly and with praise, calling the poems brave, surprising and both sad and funny. Reading before an audience I've been able to explain some of the poetic forms I've used and give background and context, but even without that most folks find the poems pretty accessible.
At my reading on Wednesday a man asked me, "You say that poetry is a spiritual communication. How is it different from a painting or a piece of music?" I thought for a moment and said, "Because it uses words and we are so used to the misuse of words. We use words to aggrandize ourselves to lie and to sell, to divide ourselves from others and also to justify what can't be justified. Of course we can also use words to tell someone they are loved, but words are one step removed from the experience they attempt to describe. When we listen to Bach's fugues or look at "A Starry Night" by Van Gogh, they evoke a direct experience. A good poem uses words to do the same thing. A good poem arises from and awakens an experience in the heart to reveal a secret about who we are, and helps us reflect on what we cherish, value and grieve, what we know to be true. Poetry is a special joy that words were made for. The experience of reading or hearing a poem, hearing a beautiful piece of music or gazing a a work of visual art take us the the same transformative place while healing and uplifting us. But a poem uses a route that is both familiar and rare." I'm not sure I gave this answer exactly, but...
I hope you will come listen to me read my poems for an hour or so on May 3rd!