A few weeks ago, I took Perpetua and Tertia to our local playground for an afternoon romp. As we were preparing to leave, I was listening to the sound of our feet on the asphalt path and a line of poetry—“I have become a connoisseur of footsteps, mostly mine”—sprang, whole, into my mind. “Hey,” I thought, “that’s in iambs! I should use it in a sonnet!” So I did.

Solitary” has recently been published by Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY.

“Obituary” (a poem)

When my grandfather died two autumns ago, I wrote some poems about it because that’s part of how I process things, and I started thinking about obituaries. There’s something absurdly reductive about them — trying to sum up an entire human life in a few inches of newspaper copy. Even the most well-written obits can only scratch the surface.

And then I thought — what if I leaned into that? What if I tried to push that inherent absurdity further? I had been wanting to try my hand at blackout poetry, which is a form where you take a found text and choose words from it to form a poem, blacking everything else out. And so that’s what I did with my grandfather’s obituary, which ended up, in this new version, a scant eight words long. They don’t say much, but for those who knew him, they unlock a greater recognition. And maybe that’s the point.

Obituary” has been published by Months to Years in their Winter 2023 edition. (The page has a partial image in the header, so make sure to scroll down to see the whole thing.)

How to Read a Poem

My poem “How to Read a Poem” is now available in the Winter 2023 edition of Plainsongs. You may purchase a print or digital edition here.

The poem is an extended metaphor, which maybe is not actually that helpful for people who don’t already read poetry! But if you don’t and would like to start, let me direct you to a post of mine from 2018: How to Start Reading Poetry. I firmly believe that just about everyone loved poetry as a child, until school beat it out of them — and that that same love can be regained. Maybe this will be the year!

Three children’s poems

Over the years I’ve been slowly (slowly) working on a collection of children’s poems, which I think of as nursery rhyme companions. Some of them are re-tellings or glosses of poems we already know; others are simply written in a congruous style. I’m delighted to announce that The Dirigible Balloon, a wonderful webzine that curates children’s poetry, has just published three of them:

Jessica Spider

Little Boy Blue

Oh, Come Follow

Fractures Song Cycle

I’m very excited to announce this project! Composer Frank Horvat has been working with soprano Meredith Hall to develop a thirteen-song cycle for voice and piano. One of my poems, “Alms” was adapted for one of these songs! (It’s been re-titled as “It Was an October Day”.) Frank and I collaborated previously on his SSAA choral piece “Helianthus” and working with him is always a pleasure.

Meredith will be giving a few workshop performances of these songs in the coming months, and they will all be recorded as a CD next year. I’ll let Frank tell you the rest!