This is not a long book, but then books of poetry never are. Most of my poems are short lyrics, one or two pages long, but there is one that is much larger, over 140 lines. It is my verse rendering of the first chapter of a Chekhov short story, Lady With Small Dog. I wish the book were longer, but I haven’t written any poems for a long time, and every few years I look at the ones I’ve got and one of them always seems to stick out. Something’s wrong and I can’t figure out how to fix it so I toss it out. I guess my standards are rising but at this rate before long my collected poems will shrink to zero.
My poems are not free verse. They have meter and rhyme but you wouldn’t put them on greeting cards. To let you know my idea of poetry I can tell you some of the poets I admire: Wilbur, Frost, Auden, Tennyson, Keats, John Clare, Pope, Shakespeare. My poems are also meant to be understood. The meaning might be complex. It will somehow be entangled with the form and you might have to think about it for a minute, but I’m not trying to be mysterious or to hide behind layers of ambiguity or symbolism.
But describing poems is like explaining a joke. You laugh or you don’t. A poem takes your breath away or it doesn’t. The only way for you to decide if my poems are any good is to read them, and I’m making it as easy as I can for you to do that. The book is free. And if you sign up for the book I’ll send you my poetry newsletter once per month. I call it The Real Poetry Cafe. In each issue I’ll have one poem by a living author and one classic. I’ll talk about them and tell you why I think they’re great.
The first issue of The Real Poetry Cafe features “A Little Horaceplay.” It’s a funny, sexy tribute to the Roman poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus). He is the author of the immortal phrase “seize the day” and he loved wine, music and good looking waitpersons of either sex. Susan McLean, a wonderful contemporary poet has a lot of fun playing around with Horace’s legacy and I’m sure that’s he’s happy to see her doing it. In issue #1 I also share some thoughts on Kipling’s best poem, “Harp Song of the Dane Women.” I won’t try to explain either poem but I will try to make you see why I admire them.
To receive my collected poems and subscribe to The Real Poetry Cafe, click the link below. Of course you can unsubscribe at any time and I’ll never give your email address to anyone.