Although I have begun to let go of this form, I did learn something from following the masters—Chekov, Maupassant, Hemmingway, and especially Alice Munro. My narrative art has gone into the two novels. These stories reflect a simpler time, rather than any modern sensibility. So, following the masters, I diverged.
Telling tales, the storyteller’s art, is a loose affair that at its best can be spellbinding. In those moments I disappear into what’s happening in the story. Writing a tale is always great fun. But then in learning to tell it I struggle to unshackle my voice from the written words. For I am in love with the sounds of story changing the air, casting us out of ourselves, and then back in, not quite the same as before.
My poems mark my awakenings. I wish I could speak of some revealing chronology in them, but too often I go back to dozing. In this sense, a stumble-path is what I follow. My poetry hides in the vast expanse of what I don’t know, comes bulging out from behind, grabs me and turns me in a dance where I’m never sure of the next step. Some of these poems came whirling in a flash, but some fooled me for years before I found words to carry them. Here is a sampling. There are a good many more—for better or worse. I write lines as a daily practice to stay open to what goes beyond words.