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Ted Burke: California Poets Part 6, Five Poems


Ted Burke


October 18th, 2023

California Poets: Part VI

Ted Burke

Five Poems




RAPTURE


The mailman drops his parcels and falls to his knees in the middle of the street


as a light comes through the clouds and makes the commotions of the city radiate


gold tones like the frozen poses of ancient photographs


found under the stairs of every parent’s house that aging children must close.


You see the mailman on his knees and wonder why he’s praying, hardly aware of the increase in light


or the music that blares all the big band music of trumpets and saxophones that disguise the grind of


passing cars, it’s such a shame that religious fanatics are hired to deliver the mail, you think, so much depends


on what comes through the System, envelopes full of what’s owed and what’s not covered by any plan


that can be written down; you run the water in the sink, you wonder where did the clouds go?


“There is no rain anywhere” says the radio announcer,

and the light is tremendous all over the globe,


there is not a dark stain

in any corner or nook on the earth,


And then the radio gives out to static, and the TV

releases itself to snow, the music in the street is very loud


and swinging hard to the left and the right and then right down the

middle as all the notes scurry brilliantly through the hedges


and up the driveways, into the homes with each reed instrument

improvising disembodied melodies that form their own sheet music,


That is a very loud set of speakers in that passing car, you think.

and the radio announcer cuts through the music and says something you


hear as that millions of people all over the world have just vanished in

plain site under bright light and big bang music, gone in a wisp and puff of smoke,


You look at your watch and note that it’s time for lunch,

the clouds have fallen over the city again, the sky darkens,


the shapes of the neighborhood take on their deep hues again, saddened

with history, dense in dumb witness to what never ends,


You stop, look out the window; you turn off the water you ran,

in the middle of the street, by itself, flat on the cement,


The mailman’s bag and his clothes, topped by his hat, kissed by a cool breeze.




POEM WITH A PLAGIARIZED FIRST LINE


Poetry makes nothing happen other than making our tongues wag at one another and our brains send words to our limbs to suggest a proper hand gesture to underscore a swift lyric response and to undercut the boogeyman peeking around the corner of the door frame because one of us started humming a light and sprite tune when the slim collection was closed by two calm hands and all came to rest sweetly in the lap.


Poetry makes nothing change except the key the music is played in, the time signature that now follows the whim, not the metronome, the temperature between the ears that rises and falls as the senses are engaged, inflamed and then deflated, poetry does nothing except make the rooms we walk into fit us a little better than before the first stanza was read, exclaimed, declared at length, these verses do nothing at all that wits alone can measure.


Poetry is a bouquet from the angels or our better regard, a sharp stone in every pair of shoes, a lover’s sigh, a boss’s grunt, a wall of wet paint that dries too slow, friends who understand too quickly and grasp not a word you’ve said, assuming of course, something rhymed or cursed with irregular lines mattered enough to stop the clock and arrest our attention with handcuffs of wonder and what the fuck was that?, Poetry makes nothing happen, poetry is what happens, and nothing ever happens around here.




BLUE SKIES FROM NOW ON


The best two-dollar tie that slips under the wingspan collar


comes to a knot under the lump in my throat,


some green and red growth that was the result of a fashion nightmare.


I had dreams you had nothing to wear


but the clothes you bought on sale in the mall where everything


except the parking spaces were discounted.


No, I don’t get more apartment when the rent is increased,


I need to live more intensely in it to make the abode match the rising sea of outgoing green.


The boy’s pants are too short to be running a marathon with the god of desire: soon the world that used


to standby as he stumbled through the malls looking


for a hem to cling to will become rife with strife


and impacted with lust, desire for things he


cannot logically use, women in shorts only military secrets address insane fashion:


the secrets of the Invisible Country will be revealed and they still won’t make any sense,


and growing older will be the sigh escaping from the chair you collapse into when fireworks are done


and sulfur cuts a path over the picnic that celebrates blue skies, blue skies, nothing but blue skies from now on.




HEAVEN OF CRACKS


Where nothing happens to anyone is a heaven of cracks to fall between or rise up to


if you’re in bed staring at the ceiling between bouts of sleep that grind like engine gears


and the replays of the last word you didn’t speak with the clerk who looked at you like a generic bad example or the smug guy in clothes more expensive than a year’s worth of take out just as the elevator closed and you were late again in a building towering over high and mighty over everything you didn’t own,


or the car alarm blares and your coffee is gone, the men’s room is out of order when everyone has to go this time,


It doesn’t matter, it will always be a door that closes while your speaking or someone who watches you like the price of gasoline,


It’s a heaven of cracks that might be a passage between cragged mountain ranges to an Eden where all the totems work, like sealed water jars on front lawns that keep the dogs at bay, scarecrows in fields of dead corn, candles to light in church for only a Silver Dollar, guns with no bullet chambers, cops and gang bangers doing crosswords, linen that doesn’t the history of your lost loves who found better hobbies and funnier men to experiment with,


another door closing, a neighbor going to work,


can’t escape that, the cell phone buzzes and dances on the night table with a ring full of keys, it’s work wondering where I am, can’t escape that either.




THE KENSINGTON BEAT


There are drum solos rumbling down the avenue where store front lights burn into the dark and get diffuse in the amber glare of bottles and rim shots clinking and reporting the news of the night:


Yes, we have to go to work again on Monday, only planets have converged, lined up in a way that leaves my gravity and shoreline alone,


the highest satellite dish we see tonight will still be there in the morning with birds sitting on them, tennis shoes hanging from them, giving someone so many sharp moving pictures of moronic diversions.


Everyone steps up and takes a solo on the melody that becomes the tattoo on the big shoulder of the crowd that leans into the wall of sound that each player powers their riffs against, yes, it’s dark outside, the street light cannot burn away the black or the mist that surrounds the glow,


I consider bills to pay, bills to pay, your face smiling or looking down, at that point when you think you’re alone, whistling and singing the trilling ends of famous Hendrix riffs, gutter growl, whammy bar tirade, ostinatos and legato salvo, tongue triple timing imperfect harmony with sonic bitch slap pick harmonic tooth grinding chop heaven, screams go across the night, I think of you singing whole sections of Axis, Bold as Love when I got home early years ago, you had all the kitchen gadgets grinding, the stereo blasting, you had your voice unleashed in vowels and consonants riffing in sustained syllabics that kept away the lurking edge of the night that would come over the horizon and up the street on tiny feet and bring with it a wake of wasted blackness that swallowed all


All there is left to do is sing and consider bills to pay,


Warm nights and drum solos from the back of the Kensington Club where my brother plays and demonstrates the history of sticks on drumheads, what the hands do when getting busy is the business,


Everyone gets to take a solo, to rail their music against the wall of sound, the night abates; it gives up its claim on your division of city street and passes you as singing to yourself burns a black smoke and sparking fabric of sheer emotion that life stories end up as notes on sheet music in an arrangement that seems to give we room to stretch and take our time, to talk to the ends of our existence so far and burnish the ends of our trilling and thrilling cadenzas with a name that announces itself as part of that invisible “it” that is the nature of the street, the kiss of the town you live in,


There are drums the spill out of the doors and on the street we go back to in order to find other streets to find our beds before the sun rises over the eastern mountains and chases the dark back to its recesses, making this world safe for money.


But tonight, there are drums, a song, step to the mike, take a solo, it’s all yours for 32 bars, or sunrise.



Interview


December 26th, 2023

California Poets Interview Series:

Ted Burke, Poet, Writer, Bookseller, Musician

interviewed by David Garyan


DG: I’d like to begin with your work as a bookseller. Aspiring writers want MFAs—they want to publish their books, but very few are actually interested in selling books that aren’t theirs. Working in this field must give you a unique sense of what’s happening in the literary world. Can you talk about when you took up this profession and how it has shaped the way you see literature?


TB: I was a reader in full bloom by the time I came to work in bookstores in the early eighties—I had been lucky enough to have my mother read to me as a child. That fact that I was hard of hearing from birth, a forty percent loss, made me lean in closer to my mother's voice as she read stories to me; I could thus better hear the prose and understand the rhymes. The evocations of the words as they laid out a compelling narrative was much like music. I understood it. I felt something greater than what my imagination had concocted before. And so, early on I wanted to write my own stories. I loved comic books; I used to write and draw my own strips. I began to write short prose sketches and even tried my hand at writing little plays, usually fantasy scenarios. So it went. The more elevated my reading became, the greater my desire to write in more adventurous ways flourished. 


The discovery of Bob Dylan, and through him T.S. Eliot, changed everything. The fragmented images, the associative leaps between stanzas, the dark and alluring surrealism of both those scribes fascinated me for reasons I didn't immediately understand: it was writing that made no conventional sense—unlike an anecdote or parable where readers can take away a clear message; rather it was writing that had impact because of tone, atmosphere, mood, and the experimentation, all of which allowed the expression of ideas that were implied, inferred, and suggested in a manner that broadened my notions of what could be said or done when one picks up the pen or sits at the keyboard. 


My first job in a bookstore was in the '70s, while I was studying literature and writing at the University of California, San Diego, at a Crown Books in La Jolla. It was eye-opening, to the extent that it was the first time in my life—I was in my mid-twenties—that I experienced books in purely retail terms, mainly along the lines of what the public was reading. It wasn't Henry James, Verlaine, or Virginia Woolf in large part, but instead an endless stream of self-help gurus, celebrity books, computer programming books, romances. It wasn't a good experience in general. I did become friends with Dennis Wills. He started his fabled bookstore D.G. Wills Books, also in La Jolla, and I later came to work for him. This was after a satisfying stretch of employment at other bookstores that had a much broader selections than the aforementioned Crown, and which actually hired employees who were genuine book folks. 


DG: You write essays and reviews for the San Diego Troubadour. Who are some musicians people should be paying attention to these days?


TB: I'm not up-to-date on the majority of musical trends of the last ten years, I'm afraid. What I've done recently for music pieces has been offering longer works related to my teen and adult years, some artists who might have been forgotten who deserve a new listening and consideration. Donovan, Melanie Safka, Moby Grape, Love, Phil Ochs, Chuck Berry, Wall of Voodoo, The MC5. This started when I began noticing particular elements in songs, pop songs, rock songs, soul songs, that worked and contributed to the success of certain tracks or albums in becoming splendidly effective works of craft and even art. It's like re-reading books you read in your youth, in college, or after graduation: you are curious whether some novels or poems still retain some kind of artistry and whether they remain relevant or entertaining, without apology.


Also, I've been going through the recordings of jazz artists, and you can imagine it's the kind of self-assignment that will never be completed. But it's a quality burden to bear. Mingus, Monk, Miles, Larry Coryell, Sun Ra, Weather Report, Michael Brecker, Steve Coleman, Anthony Braxton have been in constant rotation in my home.

 

DG: You collaborated with Grammy-winning composer Libby Larsen to adapt some of your poetry to music. This work premiered on August 22nd at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. Can you speak a bit about the music, how the poems were chosen, and the event in general?


TB: It was a magical experience. Libby was in the bookstore in 2021 where I noted that she was buying about a hundred dollars in poetry books. I began to chat her up and she asked me, after some talk about inspiration, the muse, and touching lightly on spirituality, if I was a poet. I said “yes.” I gave her three of my chapbooks that were on hand as bonus, and two days later she returned with a handwritten letter of introduction—asking permission to use some poems of mine for a song cycle she was composing. Saying I was stunned is too mild a term to describe my reaction. I said "yes, of course." Anyone looking at her many wide-ranging performances on YouTube will realize that she likes to use poetry for her art songs.


I trusted her implicitly, and it occurs to me that Libby is one of the most genuine people I've ever met. She sought my input, always wanting to make sure that there was nothing I would object to in her adapting the stanzas, but my attitude was that my part of this collaboration was completed, with these four pieces I'd written over a ten-year period.


I've long felt that a poem isn't quite finished until someone reads it closely and brings their experiences into the ideas, experiences, and ironies poets attempt to get across—the notion of expressing the inexpressible in terms of the unforgettable—and arriving at meaning that is personal and profound. It's wonderful, I think, that there can be any number of interpretations of a work—that some meager words I compose could find resonance with a wide variety of readers. This was how I responded to bards whose spell I fell under: the poems I loved made me think in a certain way and gave me the desire to create my own work. Thus, I was naturally excited about having my poems interpreted musically. 


The performance took place in a very fine, nearly acoustically perfect Harris Hall on the Aspen Institute campus, with a selection of three pieces for baritone and piano. The baritone was Will Liverman, a rising star in the classical world with a richness of range, color, and tone that makes you think of a place where deep bells ring. On piano was the especially renowned Jonathon King, a fluidly dynamic accompanist. The music that Libby composed for the three lyrics performed were her interpretations of not just the words but also what she heard in the freewheeling movement of the line breaks. Perhaps too often I've described my sense of rhythm in the spirit of a Coltrane or Charlie Parker saxophone solo: hearing a pulse, a steadily shifting beat that fuels each set of lines, with the stanza breaks more often than not being something like a pause an improviser takes before going off on the next chorus to build upon, at that instance, the melodic inventions he (or she) has just finished. 


This was my sense of composing poems, each stanza being more or less a complete statement in its own right, and yet followed by another set of lines that try to build on, to clarify or emphasize the ironies of the writing that came before, with the hope of adding a certain kind of complexity—a complexity that might not make sense in the conventional manner but one that lets the reader “get” what it is I'm "getting at."


Libby is a capacious composer who in her virtuosity uses a broad range of rhythms from the wealth of music styles that have influenced her: 20th century modernism, canonical works of the Old Masters, blues, gospel, folk traditions, rock and roll, and the jazz tradition, from ragtime to big band to bebop and beyond. In her hands, the rhythms are tweaked, merged, or set next to each other in parallel movements in ways that are surprising. She is not afraid of dissonance or hard-edge transitions, and yet very little of what I've listened to is strident. Her work is poetic on its own terms, full of colors and wonderful layers of movements; you may find in the middle of a song narrators who are swirling inside a set of emotions which could be joy, grief, celebration, or bemoaning of one's sad lot. She transforms all of these personalities into musical statements. 


What I imagined were fleeting jazz cadenzas and buttressing chord work, she opened up into rhythmic patterns that accentuated the irony of the words. Sometimes in a rush, other times quiet and lingering over particular phrases, King's piano backdrop brought dynamic elements, while Liverman's vocals climbed and sank, seduced, mocked, and declared the unrhymed lines before him; he was acting according to the shifts in Libby's composing. I found it all mesmerizing.


One of the last pieces Liverman sang was "My Father Intercepts My Trip to Another Planet," a piece about the memories I had of my late father when I was a child. In the poem, I made reference to my Dad breaking into song when he got home from work—usually after he had a cocktail—and the particular song he would sing while doing this was "I Love Paris." This has been a vivid recurring memory my whole life. Liverman sang those lines in a soft passage toward the end of the piece, and Libby quoted "I Love Paris" for the pianist to play just as the baritone was sweetly intoning the title. That was the end of the song and the conclusion of that part of the recital—and you guessed it, corny as that might seem, it brought tears to my eyes. 


DG: Another passion of yours is street photography. Where are your favorite places to shoot?


TB: Believe it nor, a favorite area for taking pictures has been the residential streets and alleys of the beach area, particularly Pacific Beach and La Jolla. Here it's always a wonder to see what residents are setting out either on the curb or in the service passages behind their homes. The lure is the accidental arrangement of discarded things that wouldn't normally inhabit the same space, things like oversized plasma TVs, stacks of paperback novels, abandoned computer modems, forlorn bicycles, toasters, dozens of grimy gunning shows, forgotten canvases of some artist's attempt at abstract art or landscape renderings, and certainly furniture of unlimited variety, such as swivel desk chairs, book cases, three-legged tables and one legged stools, all manner of material—things mashed together in offhand arrangements that are ironic, or seem to be when I took a picture. I am also fond of the older neighborhoods that still contain the architectural styles of earlier decades. Areas like North Park, Hillcrest, Kensington, University Heights, and especially Banker's Hill near Balboa Park, where it seems that all you have to do is point your camera in any direction and snap—the result will nearly always be an intriguing shot of the mixed blessings of living in a densely populated community. Before the pandemic, I spent a good deal of time in downtown Diego where I most frequented the movies and live theater; while in the area I snapped a couple of hundred photos over a decade's time, a record of the city's center being transformed into something else. I've also become intrigued with bus riders, the tired and haggard faces of citizens going to and coming from work, or whatever the particular day or night holds for them after they get to where they're going. 

 

DG: You’ve lived in San Diego since 1969. Where are your favorite places in the city?


TB: A city of many neighborhoods. I grew up early on in beachside towns, notably the well-to-do community of La Jolla where I went to high school and later to college at the University of California, San Diego. My favorite places in the city are the University Heights, Kensington, Hillcrest and North Park neighborhoods where there are concentrations of old homes built in the thirties and forties, abodes built by hand with brick, lumber, concrete, and stone as materials. Also love the abundance of trees and all the diversity of the residents—young professionals, families, LGBTQ, whites, Hispanics, Asian, working class, retired. I will say that San Diego's Balboa Park has been a favorite location for decades—a lion's share of museums, live theater, music performances, beautifully maintained: San Diego at its finest. Here you can escape the problematic conditions of a cluttered downtown and the overcrowded snarl of the beach communities. 


DG: The poems you write employ a direct, no-nonsense style, yet they aren’t thematically repetitive the way some of Bukowski’s work can get. Amiri Baraka was a major influence when you started writing. How have subsequent writers affected your aesthetic over the years?


TB: I was overwhelmed when I first heard Baraka on a '70s PBS program. I remember that many musicians performed a searing brand of free-jazz improvisations while Baraka exclaimed mightily. His anger, energy, and sense of jazz-cadenced tempos for his lines became a standard for me to imitate. And imitate I did. I was seventeen or eighteen at the time, and I did this badly in terms of poetry, but reading and hearing Baraka helped me emerge from the rock-lyric obsessions I previously had. It introduced me to a universe of poets who were writers—not tune smiths—artists dedicated to expressing incredible things on the page, pen in hand.


My inspirations were a varied mix, such as New York School poets John Ashbery and Frank O'Hara, two distinct writers from whom I came to understand different ways to write verse. From Ashbery, the ability to weave the concrete and the abstract, of how to present a consciousness that perceives and recalls material things and events, but then, ultimately, associates those people and things to a larger private world that draws unexpected associations. From O'Hara, I learned something about how to use the first person in a poem. O'Hara's was a master at doing this. After a period where I was trying rather deliberately to write in a style similar to both of those poets, I eventually came to point where I could clearly grasp made their writing successful. With time, I paired my then-verbose stanzas to a what I then thought was my voice. Perhaps Harold Bloom's idea of "the anxiety of influence" comes into play here—the process of confronting a major poet and learning to be influenced by their style, methods, and personality, while, at the same time, writing in style not at all like those major poets who, to begin with, provided the very spark to create one's own work.


Many poets I read had and still have the tendency to find the keyboard time and time again—to engage the Muse, or at least look for it. From language poets like Ron Silliman and Bob Perelman, to others like Emily Dickinson, on down to Thomas Lux, Wanda Coleman, A.R. Ammons, and certainly Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen. San Diego-based poets Paul Dresman (now in Oregon) and the late Steve Kowit—two absolute masters of their craft—were my mentors in the early years of my writing, in the mid ‘70s. I met both men while a student at UCSD in the Literature Department. I'd been writing long-winded tracts that were artless and admittedly pretentious yet nevertheless glutted with striking images, a holdover from my early adoration of Dylan.


Paul did like some imagery and some passages in the longer exhortations I showed him. I remember he took a red pen and circled parts he admired, and offered some suggestions as to how the parts he isolated could be linked together thematically, along with how some passages could be arranged without a rewrite. I recollect him telling me something akin to the fact that half of the art of writing poetry was in the editing and rewriting—revision, in other words. I became less verbose over time, and eventually, in my thirties, my style evolved to a voice that still sounds, to me, genuine and right. 


DG: In a short essay called “Poetry should kick you in the nuts,” you write: “I stopped going to open readings about twelve years ago for a combination of reasons, lack of time foremost among them, but coming up near second was the weariness of being subjected to a continuous stream of encrypted banality.” Towards the end of the piece, readers get the sense that the second reason is really the first one. It’s been eight years since you wrote this. Do you think the problem stems from a simple matter of aesthetics, or something else? Is it because we have too many MFA programs? Is it because we don’t have enough?


TB: What motivated the essay and its rude title was the general exasperation I felt at the time. It was as if an outsized portion of the published poets I was reading over that period seemed to be wallowing in passive confessional confines, a species of latter-day verse that lacked the verve or inventive language of, say, Robert Lowell or Sylvia, just to name two outstanding examples of the genre. Let’s say that many of the poems seemed passive, defeatist—a mannered expression of dread over both the consequential and minor incidents of a poet's life. The poems, at least at the time I wrote my perhaps unfair grievance, seemed to have no rhythm, pulse, or purpose. It was as if so many would-be bards had nothing to say. Poets spent an inordinate amount of time composing poems about poetry—and worse—speaking of themselves as poets in the stanzas. One can appreciate irony or comical elements in a poem, but there was little of this in the deluge I mention; so much of the material was dead serious, dead as charred soil, so much intoning of serious matters about the art form's magical powers and the grave responsibility the Poet, capital "p," has in the avocation. All this works, I know, for different traditions, but it's a red flag for me: poems regarding poetry are tone deaf, and the capital "p" Poets who write them lack an ear for the rhythm and melody, the expressive music of language that allows for new ideas and unexpected insights.


My favorite poets are those who engage the world. They defy any wishful thinking one might have about what the totality of all things should "mean." These are poets who have the ability to combine scenario, image, and tone through imaginative associations of things. It's about having a melodic sense of improvisation, perhaps, which shows my bias toward jazz and arriving, by the end of a poem, to a place both the poet and reader didn't expect. Frank O'Hara and Thomas Lux do this, Bukowski, too, when at his best, the late Sarai Austin does it, Paul Dresman, Gerald Locklin, Wanda Coleman, and even Ashbery—as opaque as he can be—gives you an idea, a definite idea of working one's way through an unexplained existence with sensory detail. These are poets who have, more or less, broken away from any community consensus about what poetry "needs to be" or what a poet "must do."


MFA programs and various trends in avant-garde or experimental writing tend to become mainstream over time—soon enough those institutions and innovations end up shaping/becoming the canon, which, at the risk of generalizing far too broadly, creates a good many scribes who write in styles that sound borrowed, second hand, with some slight stylizing. Quantity changes quality, to use an over-cited remark. But I take great joy in the poem where craft, inspiration, and an inspired refusal to seek easy resolution results precisely in the thing we want—surprise and inspiration: the kind of poetry that makes us think differently about the world as it happens.


DG: You’re known for writing uncompromisingly direct reviews of people’s poetry, and they’re not always negative, either. How do poets react to these?


TB: A few poets have sent me emails to thank me for what they thought was a great interpretation of their poem—if what I wrote happened to be favorable. Others commented directly on the blog to explain poems and their intentions when they composed them. And I remember a couple of poets mentioning what I'd written on their blogs and academic web pages. There was a well published poet of some acclaim who took great exception to what I'd written about a piece he had published on Slate, and announced on the magazine's poetry message board that he was offering an unspecified reward to any reader who could find what he considered to be an egregiously inaccurate interpretation. No one to my memory took him up on the offer. I imagine the reactions of poets who took the time to read what I had to say were in equal parts delighted, bemused, irritated. 

 

DG: What are you reading and working on these days?


TB: Poets Tracy K.Smith, Amy King, Cid Corman, and working my way through Ashbery's epic poem "Flow Chart." I'm collaborating on a piece with a friend, writer Barry Alfonso, on the Paul Simon song "American Tune," a beautiful melody and lyric from his 1973 album "There Goes Rhymin' Simon." It's a fascinating dialogue we're having because the song presents us with a kind of elegy for the American Dream, a vague but attractive idea suggesting that despite our population's diversity, there is no division—we are unified through hard work and anyone, thus, can find some measure of success and good fortune. This idea has been made entirely problematic given our country's recent and not-so- recent history. The song addresses the situation where idealism slams up against hard and unsentimental realities. I'm looking forward to finishing my contribution—which just gets longer the more I write. 

 



Author Bio:

Ted Burke was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1952 and moved to San Diego, California in 1969, where he still lives and works as a bookseller, free-lance music journalist, blues musician, and street photographer. His writing has appeared in the San Diego Reader, Oyster Boy Review, Kicks, San Diego Door and the UCSD Guardian. His poetry has appeared in Revolt in Style, Pacific Review, Crawl Out Your Window, Diagram, and other journals. Burke has authored several poetry chapbooks including “Sitting in the Dark”, “No One Home” and “Open Every Window”, from Old House Books. He was a finalist in the 2021 Kowit Poetry Award contest. Grammy winning composer Libby Larsen selected several of his poems to adapt for a trio of art songs, pieces that had a world premiere at the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado in August of 2022. He now writes for the San Diego Troubadour as a feature writer and general essayist and reviewer, and is a bookseller and poetry buyer for D.G. Wills Books in LaJolla, CA.

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