The dark hour came
in the night and purred by my ear.
Jane Hirshfield, “The Dark Hour”
When we were younger, one of my sisters asked me, “What is a poem?” The most fundamental questions are always the best. I didn’t have an answer for her then, and I don’t have an answer for her now. The best approach may be to work backwards from that question (maybe every question). Not answer it. Because the minute you square it off, you want to round it. Once you’ve got Euclid, then non-Euclid comes along, asking different questions. So poetry for me is in part getting to the source of the question.
I have a day job, working at Union Institute & University, where I’m Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness. I enjoy that job very much – it’s where I color inside the lines and obey the rules. Poetry, on the other hand, lets me color outside the lines and break the rules. My interest in formal verse is where those two vectors come together, hopefully in some interesting ways. I’m a Catholic deacon, so the mystery of language is my way into trying to get to the source of Mystery.
I live in Cincinnati with my wife and children. I am a regionalist at heart, so the landscape and the city here factor in my writing in different ways, some subtle and some not. I can’t seem to stop writing about rivers. Take me to the river, dip me in the water…