Forty-five thousand years ago when I was a student at the University of Illinois I began writing poems and satirical pieces. Luckily nothing survives from this period. However it was good enough to win the Ricker Writing Prize in1962. It went downhill from there.
About Christmas day 1940 my parents made me, the spunky lump who was born nine months later. This was in Rock Island, Illinois. My dad, who I always called father, was the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church and occasionally a major in the Army Air Corp where he practiced blowing up the V-2 sites at Peenemünde. My mother studied painting at the Chicago Art Institute and later demonstrated Singer sewing machines at the Century of Progress fair in 1934. In 1949 my father took St Stephen's church in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami. That is where I unintentionally began to collect images. I continued collecting images until a minute ago and when I’m finished writing this I will continue. My writing is laden with garlic, awash in odd characters wandering rural France or waiting in line at Trader Joe's. There is color, food, things happening off stage, pedantic wanderings, there is love and death plus an ironic look at any thing that comes slouching my way. If I know where a poem is going before I start, why bother to write it? When we moved back to Illinois in 1957, I continued collecting images. I moved to Eugene in 1970, where I worked as an architect until 2003. I didn’t collect many images for over twenty years. I returned to writing in 1994 and haven’t stopped. Some times early in the morning I write them down. After that come the revisions when the fun really begins.
My favorite writing quotes:
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” – Flannery O’Connor
“Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.” — Hafiz of Persia
I am shallow and impatient. If a poem doesn't a cargo of wizards, there better be a grenade in the latrine. — me.