I wrote plenty of poetry in high school, where I was EinC of the magazine, and in college, but in grad school I transitioned to writing literary stories. I had a half-dozen published, including an honorable mention in a short short story contest (the origin of my love for flash fiction). When I got into publishing I lost the urge to write because I realized I had nothing to write about. Besides, I also had no time or energy, and editing dried up my creative well.

On a drive from St. Louis to Iowa, however, I got the poetry bug again. Nothing like a lone tree on a wide empty field to inspire you. I started writing free verse, getting many poems published, all now invisible being pre-internet, before I was inspired by these poems by Matthew Brennaman in Poetry to switch formal verse. They just sounded so much better than the other stuff in the magazine.

So I spent three years writing sonnets exclusively to get a sense of how much real estate for ideas a line, a couplet and a stanza offered. I ultimately published scores of poems in many forms in venues such as Lyric, Raintown Review, Measure, New Formalist, VQR Instapoetry, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Clarion, Iron Horse Literary Review and The MacGuffin. To my great joy, my boss Tom Dunne loved my poem “Human Resources” in The Nervous Breakdown, which very much cops the rhythm of Auden’s “Funeral Blues.”

I prided myself on my long narrative works, often in sonnets, before it dawned on me (after ten years) that there was at best a shrinking market for formal verse of any sort, not just the type I liked to write, plus I’d run out of things to say and challenges to meet. Thus I pivoted to spec fiction. A lot of my narrative poems had a fantasy element anyway (for example, see the ones in Prime Number, linked to below).

I did get into found poetry for a while and had three poems published in Unlost Journal. Each is composed of footnotes from articles I was reading.

During the first year of Covid, I was seriously missing baseball, so, inspired by the book Baseball Haiku, I decided to write a baseball haiku for each game the Yankees didn’t play (and, later, did). It was also an excuse to really study the form; I read a lot of haiku and a lot about it (I highly recommend Robert Haas’s The Essential Haiku). I ended up getting more than two dozen published in all the major haiku venues around the world (plus Axios Sports!), then I cut and revised, cut and wrote more, cut and wrote still more until I’d created a solid 162-haiku manuscript called The Old Ball Field. It’s now on submission. We’ll see what happens.

I also have a manuscript of my narrative formal verse called The Black Dogs of Whitechapel, the title story a Pushcart nominee, which I’d like to get published some day. Here are the poems (and, when available, links) to those in the manuscript.

Blue Unicorn: “A Soldier at Clervaux”

Clarion: “East of Paris”

Descant: “Endless”

Exit 13: “Melvin Tuttle, 68, Obituary Writer”

The Flea: “The Righting Moment”

Free Lunch: “The Roundpen”

Innisfree Poetry Review: “Black Echoes”

Iron Horse Literary Review: “The Blasting Agent”

The Lyric: “The Ashen Light,” “The Somber Canal”

The MacGuffin: “Skirt”

Measure: “Flickers,” “The Golden Man,” “The Rapidan Ferry,” “The Hanging of Robin Hood”

The Neovictorian/Cochlea: “Declarations”

The New Formalist: “A Turkish Fairy Tale,” “The Emperor of Mexico,” “The Screech of Gulls”

Pennsylvania Review: “The Red Mass”

Pivot: “Relics”

Prime Number: “The Mother of Apples,” “Witch of the Pines,” “Leap to Able”

Raintown Review: “A Sonnet From the Portuguese Honeymoon ,” The Black Dogs of Whitechapel,” “The Cripple of Lepanto,” “Turing Test”

String Poet: “Enlistment”

VQR Instapoetry Series: “The Mapmaker’s Lament”

I’d also include two that I’m still submitting to journals, “A Duel in Avalon” and “The Water Dragon’s Lark.”

I have to say, it’s really pretty sad how literary magazines disappear work by making it unavailable online. Even the table of contents aren’t available.

But here’s a recent one that I had published, Sakoku, in the Sandy River review.