Dawn’s Fool Anniversary, and A New Poem

This month, a few days ago, marks the first anniversary of my first chapbook’s release into the wild. Dawn’s Fool is a micro-chap consisting of eleven poems, most written in the previous year (2019). The title poem, ‘Dawn’s Fool’ was written much earlier, sometime in the 1990s. I’m always moved when I learn how much that poem resonates with new readers. It was recorded on YouTube in a live reading by Heathen Derr (then Heather Derr-Smith), director of https://cuvajse.org/, during her Border Poetry Project. (That recording is linked in my Linktree which can be found on the Poems page of this website.) The oldest poem in the book, ‘What Only the Earth Remembers’ was written even earlier, during the early 1980s.

Recently, the poem ‘For the Bees’ was re-published (with permission) on the website of The Bee Sanctuary of Ireland (https://thebeesanctuaryofireland.com/) — a real honor and acknowledgment. The story of how that connection was made is recounted on The Bee Sanctuary’s site, next to the text of the poem.

Two of the shorter pieces in the chapbook (‘The Gondolier’ and ‘Tease’) were written toward the beginning of 2019, as ekphrastic responses to a group of postcards I collected for the purpose of working through a series of visual prompts. For a while I maintained the practice of writing one of these a day, first thing in the morning. A few were successful as poems; most were not, but the exercise was great.

Dawn’s Fool has a broad environmental theme, and two of the poems were written from my experiences as The Greenway Poet (find that story also on this website.) These days I am writing differently, producing numerous very short poems I sometimes call Fractals or Word Doodles, and they are not constrained by visual prompt but by what I am trying to do with language which I might describe as “compressing surprise into concentrated expression”. Some of these are included in my more recent chapbook, Tuned.

Here is the most recent Fractal:


mirror’s back reflects
magnet’s failure
serious about cartoons
a wrecked life
unfolds origami
cash no change

Not sure what I will do with these but overall they are much more satisfying to me than most of those old postcard ekphrastics were.