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What Rises

how I got here
and what i think i'm doing here

I feel my best poems spring up organically from a certain philosophy, the way particular kinds of flowers spring up from a particular kind of soil. This philosophy isn’t anything systematic, but it gives rise to poetry that I hope is accessible without being conventional, simple without being simplistic, and translucent to the light of an ultimately benevolent universe. I want my poems to make people feel both alive and good. 

 

Until I was eleven, I lived in a little New Hampshire town of a thousand souls, surrounded by woods and fields. I feel as if I’ve shed a hundred identities since then, but I have never abandoned the sense of wonder I felt before the world there.

 

My semi-official writing career began when I discovered a gift for humor in college and joined The Harvard Lampoon. After graduating summa cum laude from Harvard with a degree in biology, I have raked in the money as a science and math teacher and toiled in the bowels of Hollywood as a screenwriter. I’ve also learned to play the guitar simply by practicing for thousands of hours, written songs, formed a band, and recorded three CDs of music that tried to coax Hank Williams into bed with The Beatles.

 

Poetry began popping out later in life when I decided to forget about screenplays and songs, and simply sit every morning with a cup of coffee and a notebook, stare out the window, and see what flowers—if any—wanted to spring up. This practice has also led to philosophical/ spiritual essays in which I try to coax everything into bed with everything else: science, psychology, sociology, history, religion, the supernatural, and everyday life. “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” in me.

Or jargon of any kind. Western culture is infatuated with specialization, compartmentalization, and labeling. Perhaps more than ever, our dominant conversations are premised on dividing things up and treating them as oppositions, whether it's men and women, straight and gay, democrat and republican, science and spirituality, or objective and subjective. I don't relate to that approach. I want to feel existence as a seamless and meaningful whole. 

 

Though I have not submitted much work to journals, my poems and essays have been published in The Aurora, The Rye Whiskey Review, and The Still Point Arts Quarterly. I optioned the first screenplay I wrote to Warner Bros., and since have written numerous screenplays and been hired for several film projects. One of my Harvard Lampoon pieces was included alongside those of John Updike and Conan O’Brien in The Best of the Harvard Lampoon: 140 Years of American Humor, and I’m a contributor to The American Bystander, which Newsweek called “the last great humor magazine.” 

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