Poet, Teacher, Semi-Retired Musician
Since I can recall, in times troubling, jubilant, or downright deranged, I’ve frequently found a distinct comfort in picking up and diving into the contents of a novel, short story, or poem to rest my soul, bring an edge of clarity to my mind, or provide comfort to my heart. As a child, I particularly enjoyed the novel format: expansive tales of characters exploring vast worlds, magical encounters with magical creatures, and adventures so grand, I never wanted them to end. As I grew, periods of drought (in which reading expansive novels no longer held my self-diagnosed teenage ADHD brain) began to occur more frequently. These times gave birth to an increased interest in the short story format—a robust, rich story encompassed in the length equaling a mere fraction of a novel. Just the water needed to quench my thirst. I was instantly hooked, and my intensive interest in the short story format continued for years, well into my college years. Carver, Hemingway, Poe, Yates, Dubus, Jackson, Cheever, Chopin, and others become my literary heroes. Much of my college years were spent understanding the short story format and figuring out how these writers captured so much story in so few pages.
As much the short story shaped me during these artistically formative years studying literature and teaching ELA at the high school level, poetry always stuck out in a way entirely separate from that of the novel and short story alike. Poetry was sophisticated, complex, and often overbearing. Even the deceivingly simple attempt to uncover a poem’s meaning or message repetitively brought me to a place of confusion and humility. As much as I feared poetry, I was equally drawn to it. I began spending hours pouring over these highly specific arrangements of words that held this innate ability to penetrate my innards and make the gears in my mind move differently. The more I wrote, the more I found myself inspired to engage the craft of poetry. No other form of writing seemed to allow for the release I felt in composing poems, no matter how crude, immature, or outright pathetic the work was. I had found identity in writing poetry.
Today, that same sentiment remains true for me. This humble website of poetry, readings, and publications serves as a home for my literary work, and thus, a space to share my creativity, art, mind, heart, and spirit. Any/all work on this site are my original work. In July 2018 (along side collaborator Dylan S. Green), I fulfilled an epic life goal by self-publishing my first book of poems titled American Memorial. 2019 holds the potential for release of my second collection of poems tentatively titled Between.
—October 2017, updated September 2018
© Nicholas Alzate, Mouth Thorn Poetry