Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Drought, Writer's Block or Something Else?

February 11 2016
October 17, 2014

Perhaps the longest drought between writing poems since I began writing poems in 2001. Well I stopped writing poems from 1983-2000 because of my poetry writing experience at The University of Delaware where the professor gave me the "support and encouragement" to make me want to quit. If famous poet professor felt a certain way, he must be right. I was only registered for that class to improve my song writing anyway.

Poems are like dead fish when creativity dries up

The Zippers, VD, Timothy Gager, Tommy Conwell

So it's a drought, not writer's block because I've said I do not believe in writer's block---even lectured on not believing it. It's life that gets in the way, or perhaps it's your inner editor.

So there was this first time period in my life of poetry not written for a period of almost twenty years. Then in 1999, I had two children and there just wasn't enough time to write the 3000 word short stories, I'd been writing. Short poems that I could begin and end during a kid's nap seemed to kindle my need to write. Then, something happened. Doug Holder published a poem titled  "Insect".

Insect (2001)

I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation
But instead I was a fly
caught on a no-pest strip
in a dirty old
kitchen in

Nifty.  Of course, the proponent of poems never being finished, just captured as various snapshots, I'd break it differently now. Perhaps like this...

Insect (2016)

I’d love to be a fly on the wall 
for that conversation
But instead I was a fly
caught on a no-pest strip
in a dirty old
kitchen in

Between 2001 and October 2014 I wrote 615 poems, and had 184 of them published. I also published two books of poetry and three chapbooks. Friends were amazed at how prolific I had become. 

So what happened between October 17, 2014 and now? I finished a novel, "The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan" and am about to wrap up "Grand Slam's (A Coming of Eggs Story)". See it in pictures HERE. I also decided that my poems require too much help and I doubted my ability to write them on my own, as I, as a person, feel more accomplished the less help I get. So the longer it went, the longer I was fine without writing. 
Harris Gardner, Poet and Curator of BNPMF

Then I received a call from Harris Gardner inviting me to read for Boston The National Poetry Month Festival at The Boston Public Library, which I let go to voicemail. I'd not written anything in over a year and I couldn't foresee recycling, once more, old work. The next day I returned his call with full intent of declining the reading, but a funny thing happened. As he was talking about the festival, I felt I could write some new work before the April 7-11th event. I was, as they say in poker, pot committed....even able to accept help from another poet, and I came up with the following:

Throw Questions Out in the Air like a Lasso (2016)

Hatred is a burning siren
warnings of a terrible twister

out there, it’s only one. Earth

tilled by machine We need soil,

water, fertilizer to grow a single weed

left bent. Throw questions out in the air

like a lasso. Cowboy, when the closed rope

loosens, it’s impossible for the horns to catch.


Nifty. Of course, it's short, but I've started and I am full of gratitude. Hope to see you all, out on the road.

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