I first started becoming addicted (to Poetry) in high school when I listened and read the poetic lyrics of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Yes. I found myself writing lyrics because I had no musical talent. Then I went to college and discovered architecture was boring compared to poetry. My professor tricked me. He told me my poetry was good. I then raptly listened to his suggestions to read poems and became hooked on Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias”, Emily Dickinson’s “2 (There is another sky…)”, Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”, William Carlos Williams’ “The Last Words of My English Grandmother”, T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Recuerdo”, W.H. Auden’s “The Unknown Citizen”, Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish”, Karl Shapiro’s “Lower the Standard: That’s My Motto”, Randall Jarrell’s “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”, James Dickey’s “Falling”, Allen Ginsberg’s “America”, Robert Bly’s “A Caterpillar on the Desk” , W.S. Merwin’s “The Last One”, Gregory Corso’s “Marriage”, Ted Hughes’ “Second Glance at a Jaguar”, and James Tate’s “The Blue Booby” for starters. I recommend you do the same too. You will not regret choosing to live a life rich with poetry. I am wealthy beyond measure with words.
PERSONAL NOTE (Cont.)
These are complex, life changing times, when we are exploding with angst and vision, energy and frustration, at once, optimistic and pessimistic, understood and misunderstood—found, lost—and the “vessel” we use to convey these complex times is the poem, which may take many forms: spoken word or performance poetry, slam, hip-hop or rap, song lyrics, concrete word art or in the more traditional forms of verse and prose poetry.
I look forward to judging the poetry you submit, which will undoubtedly contribute to my own poetic inspiration — one of the reasons why I teach creative writing at Santa Monica College.
One of the most satisfying experiences a creative writing instructor can have is discovering, nurturing, and supporting extraordinary talent, the unique and original writers who, now and then, pass through my class. Only now, I’ll be reading the works of all those who submit to the magazine — simply a wider field is all.