(Scroll down for the full
to the poems.)
y dad always teasingly called it
That's kind of the attitude I had
toward it when I was a kid, too. Poetry didn't seem to be much
good for anything. But as I grew up and in deeper love with
words, things shifted.
don't remember the first time it happened, but I always know now
when it does. It's what I call that poetry magic thing. The poem
touches something inside your head or your heart, sends a shiver
to your liver, and makes you say "Whoa" out loud in a soft
Ever have one of those moments?
That's what poetry is all about. Poems are condensed and
distilled chunks of reality, boiled down to their most intense
When you pour yourself into a poem,
it's like when you pour water on one of those dried sponge toys
-- the little blue blob suddenly expands into a giant dinosaur
or whatever. A good poem does that sort of thing in your head,
expanding your insight and broadening your emotional
way long time ago, my interest in poetry was first piqued by the
Rod McKuen and Kahlil
Gibran. That interest was augmented by the music of Simon and
Garfunkel, the Doors, Tim Hardin, Leonard Cohen, and others.
Fortunately, I had an English
teacher in high school who (the indefatigable R. Stephen "Steve" Dicken) nudged me toward more serious
material on the poetry side of things. I started digging into e
e cummings (not just the
cute stuff), Robert Frost, John Leax, Carl Sandburg, Emily
Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, and others. Later in
college, another teacher of English (Dr. Zenas J. "Big Z" Bicket) immersed me in Milton,
Donne, and the great older English poets.
My favorite poet is James Dickey. He
died a few years ago. He was the author of Deliverance
and even had a role in the movie that was based on his novel. I always
experience that poetry magic thing when I read his poems,
especially "Fence Wire." It pulls you in and you see and feel
everything as if you are in the poem.
Another poet that I really like and
just recently discovered is Stephen Dunn, a Pulitzer winner. Oh,
and Wendell Berry has grabbed my attention as well.
All that's just to let you know
that, while my poetry may not be as good as that of a Dickey or
Dunn or whomever, I do know what good poetry is about.
When I write a poem, I try to write
it well. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes flop miserably. You
can read and decide for yourself which I've done with each of
the poems in
The Godtouch. My hope is that you'll find at
least one that does that poetry magic thing to you.
you're really interested in learning to appreciate poetry more
deeply, take a look at the free MOOC offered through
by the University of Pennsylvania,
Modern & Contemporary American Poetry.
NOTE: The poems posted here
represent those published in the original small press edition.
The new, revised, and expanded edition
includes 37 additional, more recent poems.