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Anthologies

Collections. I have two anthologies or collections to tell you about.

Cymbalist Poems—When I was 24, and working as a security guard at a gas works or power station in New Haven Harbor, I took a cardboard box to work one day, along with my old Underwood standard typewriter and a portable typing table. In the box were shreds, fragments, napkins, beer coasters, notebook pages, and other ostrakoi on which I had, impromptu, scribbled poetry over many years in many unlikely locations. I had purchased a legal-size thesis binder and a ream of legal size typing paper at the Yale Co-Op, along with a rubber stamp and ink pad to create page numbers. Alone in that echoing industrial hall, I typed all the poems I had collected over my lifetime, lest they be lost. I knew I was finishing my career as a poet. I think I threw the box away when I was done.

From New Haven, later that year, I drove to Chula Vista, CA to stay with my parents for a short time. I enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Kaiserslautern, West Germany for five years. There, in an old Hitler-era barracks, I hand-made the small collection of sixty-four poems, which I titled Pauses. Like so much of my life, the binder and the books traveled with me again when I returned to CONUS ('the world') and started a new life virtually from scratch. Forty years later (2016) I definitively published Cymbalist Poems (as I retitled Pauses). It is a twin volume of the novel I wrote while in exile, which I rediscovered and published in 2016 as On Saint Ronan Street. I also, in 2016, published both books together in one volume titled 27duet.

Words for the Urn—The title I placed on my Yale Co-Op binder at age 24 was Words for the Urn. Among over 400 pages of poetry in the binder are a lot of other poems worthy of publication, so I plan to release them some day soon in at least one or possibly two added collections. I owe it to the young poet who would otherwise fade forever in total obscurity in a world brimming with so much banality, violence, and ugliness. Which is not to say there are not wonderful flashes of overpowering beauty in the arts and sciences. And, to be sure, every soul who cares for a stray animal or saves a life is an artificer of wonder as well. That word, artifice (Latin artis ficium) stems from Aristotle's concept of poeia, 'making.' Sorry to disappoint those who think poetry is named after Edgar Allan Poe (okay, I am pulling your iamb).

Teenage Novel. I will also soon be publishing City of the Universe (Cosmopolis), my teenagre novel started at age 15 and finished at age 19. It's an SF future history in the grand tradition (Asimov, Heinlein, Bester, Cordwainer Smith, Andre Norton, Chip Delaney, and others) but it is also that very rare thing: a real teenage novel. Most YA novels are actually published by older persons. Almost none are actually written by teenagers, so my book is a rara avis indeed. I will leave it essentially intact, with just a little rub on the lantern after such a long time.

Back to Cymbalist Poems: As mentioned elsewhere on this site, at age 27 while exiled in Europe (stationed on active duty with the U.S. Army) I self-published a handful of copies of sixty-four collected poems. I titled it Pauses. I still have a few of the books, because only one angel (MM) ever took an interest. I was a published poet as a teenager, but at 27 (rock star flare-out, as it happens) I was done. I moved on to prose (novels, short stories, essays). I commend Cymbalist Poems and future collections to your poetic enjoyment, along with a commentary of why and how I wrote (soon).

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