One could be forgiven for asking what poetry, with its self-indulgence, its insistence on image and metaphor, can do for the real world of blood and bruises, the harsh dirt with which we bury the newly dead. In his poem In Memory of W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden wrote that “poetry makes nothing happen: it survives / In the valley of its making where executives / Would never want to tamper…it survives, / A way of happening, a mouth.”
Notice the subtle distinction Auden draws here: he writes that poetry doesn’t make anything happen but rather is a way of happening. If you’re looking for a sonnet to stop a war, well, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you are living through a war and need sustenance, a way to make sense of it, to survive it, to gain the courage to win it–now we’re talking. And so it is that over the last seven years I have written poems about, inspired by, and intended to give meaning to the era of Trump, climate change, rising authoritarianism, a pandemic and all the other challenges our particular generation is saddled with. During that same time period, however, I have also watched my son be born, learn more walk and talk and use the potty; experienced great love and sorrow; and lived through many quotidian, even boring days.
After seven years of work, I am pleased to say that the manuscript of my first book of poetry is finally complete and I am now submitting it to publishers (about 70% of the poems have been published individually; now it’s a question of getting the whole thing published, which is much harder. You can read the manuscript, titled On the Brink: The World & Me – 2016 to 2020, by clicking here.