Poetry Is Wanted Here!

Poetry Is Wanted Here! is the timely title of one of Alex Caldiero’s books, published by Ken Sanders’ Dream Garden Press. You can hear Alex performing his poem on NPR here. You can order the book here.

Yesterday two works published by Longhouse Publishers & Booksellers (Bob & Susan Arnold, Green River, Vermont) arrived in the mail, both by the British poet John Phillips who currently lives in Slovenia. He and I have been corresponding for some time and he mentioned that Longhouse had just publish a new work of his called Hourglass. I ordered it and Phillips’ 2018 fold-out book with a wraparound band called No Preference. The latter includes a poem titled “The Point” that expands Alex’s assertion about the need for poetry:

Why add more / words to the / too many there / already no one / pays much / attention to or / acts differently / after reading / as if the point of / it all were acting / differently which / hopelessly it is.

I read Phillips’ Hourglass and find ways to act differently, to think differently (and aren’t thinking and acting so intimately intertwined as to be the same?):


for Theodore Enslin

the sense of / loss / your going / makes

the sense / your going / makes / of loss


—and a second poem—


Listen / carefully

you may / hear a word

in the silence / aching

to say / something not

said before

to make something / happen

that hasn’t / happened before

one word / with the belief

changing silence / changes everything


I unwrap and then unfold a beautiful book Longhouse did for Alex in 2007, titled Islander, and find another hopeful poem:

I want to send you / many poems, enuff / to build a new reality; / a world complete / with sun and moon and / cities where people / never have to look / for each other. / And because I dont trust / the post office, I’d deliver / them myself, or use / friends or pigeons to do the job. / Poem after poem after / poem all with the same / message always in different words, / until finally there were / enuf to start construction / beginning with a place / where you’d be most / at home, continuing / to build, adding, / layer after layer / of wild flowers, / rocks, herbs, / and the rest of it.

Poetry was wanted here today. And Alex and John Phillips delivered beautifully through Longhouse.

Thank you, my friends.


About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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2 Responses to Poetry Is Wanted Here!

  1. Melissa Beck says:

    I am going to order Philips’s books immediately. Thank you, Scott! I hope you are well and staying safe.


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