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The DownStairs Press

George Roberts
The Writing Part
George Roberts

Accidental events in our lives often turn us in unexpected directions, mark a path we never anticipated choosing.  In college, I inadvertently attended a poetry reading by Brother Antoninus (William Everson).  I had gone to the gym to shoot baskets, but there was this other event going on…poetry.  Curious, I paused.  Everson said some startling and inviting things that evening, read poems that reached into me, rattled me.  I returned to my room and began writing poetry.  That was in 1961.

Many, many poets and writers, friends and colleagues have continued to place obstacles in my path, to create new “accidents” for me.  This being on the lookout for unexpected events slows me down, pushes me to look more closely.  I believe this is what poets do, pause and peer at what others gloss over.  It is, at least, what I do most days…try to see what I am looking at, not what I am looking for.


Sometimes, when sleep approaches,
when the body surrenders but
one or two of the senses, smell and
hearing perhaps, remain alert, when
fiction grows possible on that screen
behind the eyelids,

he sees a door, wooden, a fan
of beveled glass splayed like open
fingers near the top.  Last rays
of burnished sunlight prisming
into the empty room.

He has yet to enter, to curl his fingers,
cool from the latch of the door closing
behind him, around themselves.  Yet to
step into that hushed air or to question why
his hands are empty, why he feels no
need for anything.

And in the morning, why he wakes
imbued with a whisper of calm
brushing his shoulder like a brilliant
bird’s wing.


Photos in this section provided by Jack Mader.

For details about any book and sample poems, click any cover below.

Elfriede's CatELFRIEDE’S CAT, Notes of a High School Literature Teacher

Scarecrow Press • Lanham, MD • 2003

More about Elfriede's Cat


Holy Cow! Press • Duluth, MN • 1983

More about scrut

Night Visits to a Wolf's HowlNight Visits to a Wolf’s Howl

Oyster Press • Santa Barbara, CA • 1979
out of print / limited copies available from author

More about Night Visits to a Wolf's Howl

the Blessing of Winter Rainthe blessing of winter rain

Territorial Press • Moorhead, MN • 1976
out of print / limited copies available from author

More about the blessing of winter rain

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