“You don’t know how far you’re going to have to go to be.” — Ashok Karra

Here’s a thing. This fine person wrote an entire blog post reflecting on his experience of reading my poem, ‘Mirror’. He read that poem in a review of Tuned, not in the book itself, as he didn’t have a copy (we have since sent him one.) I can’t tell you how delighted I was to read his words.

People, writers, sometimes say that we write for ourselves, and that’s true, but when a reader shares the experience of where a poem takes them, the whole journey of it — that’s about the most fulfilling result I can imagine.


Making that transmission of the living energy inside a poem, and finding evidence that the transmission has landed so that another person “gets it”, gives me reason to continue writing and publishing poems. Not that I want to convince anyone of anything or make points, but the actual feedback of energy is part of what gives my existence value and purpose.

@flw011 (Elliott Perkins) responded to another poem in Tuned, ‘Forgotten’. The poem starts with the whimsical idea that everyone should have a frog, and moves into a celebration of fundamental human value (to put it very abstractly) so at first, chatting about frogs, I wondered if Elliott was teasing when he said the poem choked him up. But then he tweeted this: “[frogs are] So small and loud. I’ve loved them for years. The poem, though, moves me. The idea that a perfect thing is perfect, like everything, and that that can be forgotten, and that remembering its perfection is also beautiful and perfect, is beautiful and perfect.”

Comments like that also bring to the surface facets of a poem that I haven’t considered before. Poems that elicit responses such as these have initiated a conversation, a conversation that relies on more than words, and one that lives beyond its initial expression in speech or text.