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This isn’t about prayer as such,

but concerns the flowers and the barking dog,

 

common places the imagination might lead.

The coffee shop downtown, where memory

 

floods the mind in uneven scenes, and no one

prays or even pauses as though he might pray

 

before drinking in the city’s drivel.

This is a poem about living,

 

about visions in a world full of dreams,

about rough places, descending into the world’s

 

basement to see, hear, and smell the vomit,

before drifting off to chase truth. This is about

 

the Man who sits in the gutter, glad to be with us.

That man never confuses a poem with a prayer.

A few friends have asked me about my writing.  In answering, I'll be brief.

I have written on and off during the years since high school, but I studied poetry writing (with Jane Mead) and fiction writing (with Julie Edelson) at Wake Forest, while I was earning my master's degree (which I finished in 2000).  I published my first poem in 1997.  Since then, I have published 120 poems in print and on-line publications and have four others accepted for publication.  I have a chapbook, Gathering the Broken Pieces, published in 2004 by FootHills Publishing and a second, Paper Snowflakes, to be published this fall by Southern Hum Press.  I am currently working on a project called Windows Toward the World, which may or may not form the basis for my first book.  Poems posted on this blog under that category are in that manuscript for the time being.

Because of my minimal success as a poet, I have been asked questions by others who write or wish to write poetry.  I have an essay, "Suggestions For Poets"  in the current issue of The Centrifigal Eye.  Please go there to read it, but feel free to leave comments here.

As a side note:  I have been quite upfront in stating that I am a Christian.  Being so shapes everything I do.  And yet I do not seek Christian markets for my poems for these reasons.  1) Often Christian markets are concerned only with the message, rather than the many other poetic aspects, thus they publish Christians first and poets second.  2) Often they have lower literary standards, because they try to "protect" against a false message   3) It is like "preaching to the choir."  I believe Christians need to be "in the world."  4)  I think prose is better suited to deliver a sermon (rant, agrument, defense, etc.)  [Many of my poems begin as rants, but I try to revise, so that their power is due to image.]

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