Prior Poets

POET ON POETRY: Poet of the Week: Rupert Fike

POET ON POETRY: Poet of the Week: Emily Dodd



Poet of the Week: Texas Poet Laurete 2011- Dave Parsons

David M. Parsons has been recipient of many honors and awards including: a National Endowment of Humanities Dante Fellowship to the State University of New York, the French-American Legation Poetry Prize, and the 2006 Baskerville Publisher’s Prize from TCU for an outstanding poem published in their literary journal, Descant. He holds six Writing Awards from the Lone Star College System and he was named Montgomery County Poet Laureate in 2005 and Finalist for Texas State Poet Laureate for 2009 & 2010. He was inducted into The Texas Institute of Letters in 2009.

Parsons grew up in Austin, graduating from Stephen F. Austin High School. After which, he joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve, where he served as a Squad Leader in a rifle company and later as a Recon-Scout Boat Team Leader. After his discharge, he attended The University of Texas and Texas State University, where he holds a BBA.

After several years in business, advertising, and coaching basketball and baseball at Bellaire High School ( where he was legendary Coach Ray Knobloch’s staff that won the Texas State High School 5A Baseball Championship),  he studied poetry with Stanley Plumly (Academy of American Poets) in London England, after which,  Parsons entered the vaunted University of Houston Creative Writing Program, receiving an MA in Creative Writing & Literature from the; where, he studied with such poetry luminaries as Edward Hirsch (National Book Critics Circle Award), Robert Pinsky(United States Poet Laureate), Richard Howard(Pulitzer Prize), and the late long-time poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine, Howard Moss(Pulitzer Prize).

Dave Parsons poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including, The Texas Review, Descant, Gulf Coast, Southwestern American Literature, The Criterian, New Texas, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Langdon Review, The New Review, Touchstone, Louisiana Literature, and many others. He has appeared as a Featured Poet at poetry events in cities across Texas, including, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, and Ft. Worth.
Dave Parsons’ first collection of poems, Editing Sky, was the winner of the 1999 Texas Review Poetry Prize and a 2000 Finalist for the Violet Crown Book Awards.  His second book, Color of Mourning, was released from Texas Review Press/Texas A&M University Press in 2007.  He teaches Creative Writing and Kinesiology (Racquetball/Handball) at Lone Star College-Montgomery and Poetry Workshops at Inprint Inc. in Houston. He is founder and Co-Director of the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council Writers in Performance Series and Chairman of the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance. Parsons has four grown children and lives with wife Nancy, an award winning Artist and Graphic Designer. Dave Parsons’ poem TEXIAN will be included in his third collection of poetry Feathering Deep is forthcoming from Texas Review Press/Texas A&M University Press Consortium in the summer of  2011. (

Poet on Poetry's Questions for Dave Parson's

1.      What inspires you as a poet?
 I suppose the only good way to answer this question is to think about what I have written about.  I have many elegies and what I call joyful elegies: poems of memory of past times and people. Joyful in that in remembering, we are in some way in joyful mourning of a time that is dead except in our head. I have poems that are the result of my reading of other writers and experiencing other artist’s visions of reality. I am inspired by living and keeping my eyes and mind open to the nuances of life that allow me to push out…expand my own reality.

2.      What advice do you have for other poets?
Read poetry. 

3.      What prompted you to start writing poetry?
There was a time in my youth that I reacted to disappointment and frustration with violence…fighting.  One weekend I found myself away at college and my girlfriend was back in my hometown (Austin) having a date with someone else. Normally, I would have tried to find him and employed violence. Because I was away, I found myself writing a poem…well, a very crude poem.  I poured myself into the poem and when I was finished, I found that I was as exhausted as if I had been in a street fight. I was not very intelligent at that age, but I did recognize that this was a pretty good way to handle frustration with fewer trips to the Emergency Room and trips to the Police station.

4.      Where do you see yourself going in the future as a poet?
I am at presently co-editing a Sixties Anthology with my good friend Wendy Barker, Poet in Residence at UTSA.  I am, of course,  always working on my next collection of poems.

5.      Do you have any specific goals as the new Texas Poet Laureate?
I believe everyone has a good poem to write. We are all as unique as snowflakes with our individual experiences, joys and pains that are like no others.  This is where good poems come from; and as Texas Poet Laureate I look to have many more opportunities to light fires in people throughout Texas to begin thinking about their own potential of expanding the canon of literature.

Dave Parson's Poetry


            After Edward Hirsch’s
“The Angel and the Demon”

I believe it to be
unlike any other

the manner in which
it carries us in
upon its own silence

the way an idea drifts
into the grey divide
where we find ourselves

in that sacred state—easing
quietly into the dark duende
to unconscious understanding

a lone canoe at midnight—blades
paddling deep—smoothly
and deftly feathering

that largest of bodies

Read more about Dave Parsons here:

See more of Poet on Poetry here:

 Poet of the Week-Ronald J. Jorgenson-2011 Native American Poet Laureate

Dr. Charles A. Stone is the alter ego of Ronald J. Jorgenson, a widely published medical geneticist.  His poetry has appeared under the pseudonym in several journals and anthologies.  He was nominated for a Push Cart prize in 2010, was the 2010 Senior Poet Laureate of Texas, and is the 2011 Native American Poet Laureate. You can read his blog at

Poet on Poetry's Questions for Ron J. Jorgenson

1.        What inspires you as a poet?   

 Other poets.

2.        What advice do you have for other poets?  

 Pursuant to # 1, read poetry every day and don't feel blocked... it'll come when it comes, sometimes at the least expected times.

3.       What prompted you to start writing poetry, since I assume it’s not the money? 

It's kind of a negative example thing.  I wrote more than 150 scientific papers in very tedious, dull, third person neuter.  That writing did teach me, however, to appreciate the use of words.  I expanded to poetry to liven up my writing a bit.  I started with a couple of poems a year in 1970, then increased my output tremendously upon retiring in 1999.

4.       Where do you see yourself going in the future as a poet? 

I'll be doing some honest-to-goodness books and helping others struggle with the muse.  I'd like to do more festivals as well and expand to a more national scene.

Ron Jorgenson Poetry

Winning entry 2011 Native American Poet Laureate competition


The spirits of my ancestors
splash across the walking stones
of many rivers and whisper to me
of painted horses that run free
across the plains of the setting sun.

They call to me from the smoke
of campfires to forsake the dark,
to join them in the ghost dance
of those who have known the earth
and now hide behind curtains of clouds.

I sing to them that I will join the dancing
when I am set free by the Great Spirit,
when my limbs are supple again
and I can pull free from the soil
that holds me to this world of living.

Until then, I must dwell within the bark
of this cypress tree to protect my grandson
whose fresh eyes do not see the dangers
as he plays at the edge of tomorrow and
wanders among the animals of the forest.

The time I spend here is good for my soul.
I get to see my grandson grow as I saw
my own son become a man and I learn
about the winds that bend my boughs
and seasons that cause my leaves to drop.

It is a time to make peace with demons
who caused me to be impatient with life
and learn the ways of the spirit world
before I become one with them and join
their evening chase for painted horses.

Push Cart Prize Nominee

hope is a bird
that never settles in the dust
but sings rainbows
from clouded skies

or is the wind
that chimes the hours
of the day from sun to moon
and moon to sun

across the continents
above the white-capped seas
where the captain shouts his crew
to trim their billowed sail

Poet of the Week-Lynne Rickards from Scotland
We are thrilled to introduce Lynne Rickards to you. I found Lynn on Twitter.
Lynne Rickards is a Canadian by birth who returned to her Scottish roots in 1992 and has lived happily ever after in Glasgow. She has published six picture books and several poems in collections designed for kids. 

Lynne has developed story sacks full of fun activities for a number of her books, tackling issues like diversity and tolerance, caring for animals and healthy eating. To find out more about Lynne and her books, you can visit her website at or her new blog for kids at 

Poet on Poetry's Questions for Lynne Rickards

1.  What inspires you as a poet?

I grew up on Dr Seuss and AA Milne's When We Were Very Young, and always loved the witty and skillful rhyme and rhythm they achieved. More recently I have discovered the brilliant poet Shel Silverstein who was an equally talented artist.  And in between I studied Shakespeare and Baudelaire and was inspired by their use of language.

2.  What advice do you have for other poets?

Writing for me is a joyful, creative thing.  I have heard of tortured poets but I am not one of them!  I hope other poets simply write for the love of it. 

3.  What prompted you to start writing poetry, since I assume it’s not the money?

 I write for children, and the very first work I ever had published was a pair of poems in a children's collection called LOOK OUT! The Teachers Are Coming.  Since then I have published several rhyming picture books.  Thanks to Julia Donaldson's Gruffalo, rhyming stories are very much in vogue!

4.  Where do you see yourself going in the future as a poet?

I hope to continue to tell interesting stories in rhyme (as well as in prose) for the foreseeable future.  I'm having a great time!

Lynne Rickards Poetry
Gloria Boring
Gloria Boring was so hard to please –
she didn’t like parties or climbing in trees,
she wouldn’t try horseriding, skating or darts,
and turned up her nose at fresh strawberry tarts.
Gloria Boring thought life was a bore –
everything seemed like she’d done it before.
No matter what new game her parents suggested,
“You’ve got to be kidding!” their daughter protested.
Gloria’s parents tried buying her toys,
they organised outings, they hired a Rolls Royce!
They struggled to find just ONE thing she enjoyed,
but every suggestion just got her annoyed.
They took her ballooning up high in the sky,
but Gloria Boring was not keen to fly.
The basket was cramped and the view wasn’t great,
and on the way down she got tired of the wait.
They tried deep sea diving along a great reef,
with colourful fish and bright corals beneath,
but when the instructor was chomped by a shark,
“Good riddance!” was Gloria’s only remark.
They stopped at the races while out for a spin,
and bet on a horse called Jemima to win.
As Gloria watched through her big Ascot hat,
Jemima came last, and so that ended that.
Gloria’s parents were at their wits’ end.
This business was driving them both round the bend!
They’d tried every possible way to have fun,
but so far their daughter had not enjoyed one.
Coming home from a long afternoon tracking bears,
they passed a museum with great marble stairs.
And although most museums are seen as a bore,
little Gloria said, “Have we been THERE before?”
She skipped up the steps, to her parents surprise,
and wandered the rooms with a gleam in her eyes.
She found suits of armour, and damsels and knights,
she saw kings and queens wearing jewels and tights.
She found a huge Buddha, all covered in gold...
The label said he was a thousand years old!
She looked in a Bedouin tent made of rugs,
and found a whole room full of beetles and bugs.
When she reached the Egyptian room, Gloria stood,
surrounded by mummies in cases of wood.
On each one were painted amazing designs,
with birds, fish and animals, symbols and signs.
The statues of royal cats, eagles and owls
made Gloria think she heard real hoots and growls.
“Don’t they look real!” she exclaimed, “Fancy that –
If I were Egyptian I’d have that black cat.”
While Gloria wandered for three hours more,
her parents were wishing they’d come here before!
Their daughter was happy, the dear little sweetie –
now Gloria Boring was Queen Nefertiti!

Billy Collins is my favorite contemporary poet.  If I had to pick one poem of his as my favorite, it would be "The Lanyard."  It is the best Mother’s Day poem ever.  I hope you enjoy!

Watch Billy Collins read "The Lanyard" here:

An excerpt from The Lanyard:

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.

Read the rest of the poem at:
Also, go to the Home Page and read how to sign up to win a copy of the Billy Collins CD with Bill Murray!

Maitreyabandhu is one of the most exciting up and coming poets today. When I read his luscious description of Umbria, I just want to crawl into his poem and live there.

 Here is an excerpt from his poem, "Umbrian Summer" found in Poetry Review, Autumn 2010.

there were beech leaves
            on the swimming pool-

            chrome yellow
on a zone of blue,
             like something Japanese.

            The sun
had seemed to shine
             through lemonade-

Poet of the Week-Jennifer Wheelock
I discovered Jennifer's poem MY MOTHER CALLS TO SAY SOMEONE HAS DIED in River Styx 84.

I'll be sorry then, sorry for everything:
...most of all, for traveling
the world but seldom coming home.

Jennifer's description of her relatives reminds us of people we know.

My 90 year old great aunt Vada
only moans and holds up two fingers.
Like in a game of charades,
we try to guess what she tries to say...

I look forward to reading more from Jennifer Wheelock.
Posted by Poet on Poetry at 12:29 AM
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