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Sunday, December 21, 2008

NEO Poet Field Guide

Full Name:
Robert Miltner

Age:
Born mid-century when Mao finished the Long March and Modernism turned Post-

Habitat:
Ohio: Canton as Epicenter

Range:
Akron, Kent, Cleveland, Ohio, Midwest, US, Olympic peninsula, Canada, Mexico, Paris, the universe cities

Diet:
Raymond Carver, James Jesus Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, the modernists, Irish writers forever, Tamas Dobozy, all my poet friends in Cleveland and Akron and Columbus and beyond, writers who write for peace or social justice which are the same thing, Raymond Carver’s poetry too!

Distinguishing Marks:
Fellow Traveler (Pudding House, 2007), Canyons of Sleep (Plan B Press, 2006), Rock the Boat (All Nations Press, 2005), Northcoast, Ohio (Spare Change Press, 2005), Marc Snyder: In Black and White (Kent State University Stark, 2005), Greatest Hits (Pudding House, 2004), Me: An Autobiography (Fiji Island Mermaid Press, 2004), A Box of Light (Pudding House, 2002), Four Crows on a Phone Line. With Neil Carpathios, Frank Kooistra, and David McCoy (Spare Change Press, 2002), Ghost of a Chance. With Carolyn Fraser, Gwen Cooper, and Wendy Collin Sorin (Zygote Press/Idlewild Press, 2001), On the Off-Ramp (Implosion Press, 1996), Against the Simple (Kent State University Press, 1995),
The Seamless Serial Hour (Pudding House, 1993)

Predators:
tv, radio, administratium (a toxic element), people who don’t really want to listen, the corporatization of universities

Prey: bookstores, hardback first editions, idealistic students, beginning writers, quiet, the thrilling alienation of travel, Lisa, spring in Ohio, a whole day to write


Call:

Aren’t All Poems about Death?


A new television set, cartoon shows about metallic robots,
my imaginary dog, the Rocky River valley with its gar and

salamanders: each a delay until I could go to school and
learn to decode the hieroglyphics of words, read the bold

headlines screaming from The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
One morning in just-September, and when I was of age,

my mother walked me to the parish elementary school.
I could see myself looking back from storefront windows

of Five & Dimes and Mom & Pops on Puritas Avenue.
When my mother said, We’re here, I looked up, ahead.

But I saw neither the school, nor the church; I saw only
a small iron fenced-in graveyard with its dozen crooked,

pale tombstones. I caught my breath and held it. Then
I cried for my life. This was not what I wanted to read.

2 comments:

John "JC" Burroughs said...

Thanks for turning me on to another very good poet! I look forward to reading more of Robert's work.

Mary Weems said...

Love this poem Robert...the turn at the end is priceless. Wow...Peace, Mary

Cited...

The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau