Bill Roman was one of the regular wanderers-through at the Borders where I worked in Toledo. One night I was shelving books in the Religion section and Bill struck up a conversation with me. At the time, he was a pastor at a nearby Lutheran church, and I was a lapsed Lutheran, claiming atheism but not fully committed to a single position. We talked about why young people leave churches, lose faith, what makes them come back, that sort of thing, and now, several years later, we still talk and even have coffee with each other sometimes. Now he's a Counselor, and pastor at Nova Faith Community.
Do you remember the first poem you read?
I really don't recall the earliest poem I read but one that would come close is Dr. Seuss's "Marco Comes Late." I read that in the fourth grade.
Do you have a favorite poet? Someone who's work you turn to often?
My favorite poet is Vachel Lindsay, author of such wonder-filled verses as "Eagle That is Forgotten", "The Leaden Eyed", "The Congo", "Bryan, Bryan,Bryan", "General William Booth Enters Heaven", and my all time winning favorite: "The Broncho That Would not be Broken.”
Do you remember the first poem that really got under your skin? Why is that poem important, or special to you?
The first poem that really got under my skin, as in irritated me, was Robert Frost’s "Fire and Ice." In seventh grade I was sent to detention by Mrs. Bennington who was the English teacher. Her version of ripping out fingernails was to have each of us analyze a poem....to her satisfaction. “Fire and Ice” was mine and it was torture. Anyway, the upshot is that I figured it out and I have enjoyed Frost ever since. My favorite of his is "Nothing Gold can Stay".
Is poetry a part of your daily life?
Poetry is very much part of my day. I've read several anthologies over the years, enjoy American poets, particularly the romantics and some modernists. I have the best of memories of my high school English teacher during my junior year, Wade Lessig, who was an athlete, military vet, and literature major. He opened my imagination and thirst for learning as no other teacher ever has. I'm still reading Moby Dick thanks to him.