Aaron E. Holst has served in many capacities with both WyoPoets and Wyoming Writers, Inc. Most recently with WyoPoets he serves on the WyoPoets’ Members Only Poetry Contest Committee, which just closed for submissions on February 28. Aaron has been published and won awards for his poetry, a point he seems to have excluded from his personal summary below. Although Aaron has a tendency to be quiet (at least at events where I see him), his poetry speaks volumes about his personal daily and lifelong journeys -- a goal all poets hope to achieve.
I write, first and foremost, because doing so pleases me. I read poetry and prose because I want to know what others have to say.
Several significant events have encouraged my writing. First was being born, but I don't remember much other than it was really bright and cold. Later, I learned to fish from my father who encouraged reading about the natural world -- especially those verses written about water, the seasons, and aquatic life. Spending time in the classrooms of Dr. Virginia Wright (8th English) and Mr. Richard Adler (sophomore English and creative writing at Sheridan High) certainly aided with my writing. When I was a high school junior, my girlfriend's father gave me his 1942 edition of A Treasury of Great Poems, English and American. The dust cover's long gone, but the poetry remains strong. More recently, when my retirement began, I fell in with Sheridan's Third Thursday Poets and WyoPoets. How fortuitous! (I must add for both him and Wyopoets.)
What inspires me: Shakespeare, Ted Kooser, Billy Collins, and Mary Oliver. Waking up each morning. Poetry, good and bad. Mountains. The seasons and the seas. Anything that charges my senses. Love. Third Thursdays. Good friends.
My writing ritual usually begins with a 6:30 a.m. cup of coffee to wake up. I wear a ball cap that comes from a city with a zoo (San Diego Zoo) – my reminder to stay crazy. (Can anyone name the zoos in Wyoming?) I write first drafts longhand in the morning with a cushioned cylinder gel pen and use an 8 1/2” by 11” yellow-page writing pad. Review of drafts and revisions occur typically in the afternoon and includes using voice recognition software to create an electronic file, which offers the opportunity to read and hear my work. Although longhand creates, I use the computer to revise and finalize. I live by cut and paste -- my only artsy-craftsy skills.
I particularly like the breadth of any form and any subject. My rebellious streak against rules and authority are still strong. When a form intrigues me, I will play with it until I wear it out. My current obsession, for example, is the following poem, a Parallelogram de Crystalline. These are four three-line stanzas with a syllabication scheme of 3-6-9. The following, however, is not true to the usual subject of a P de C, a poem about one's lover compared to nature.
overhead, night is day.
Cold shadows cannot wait to listen.
this moonstruck dark, dresses
thawing ground with hush of wet, spring snow.
impatient buds murmur
invented verses – midnight reading.
eyes closed, I hear the words,
my own inventions whispered to life.
On the other hand, rhyme and meter show up for the light-hearted and humorous.
I Bought a Brand New Smart Phone
I bought a brand new smart phone,
Its color Apple-gray.
I lent it to my girlfriend,
She had it just one day.
She texted and tweeted,
used up all my hours.
I'll lend her not my smart phone, now,
She thinks my time is “ours.”
Here, WyoPoets asks its members to summarize their writing lives, poetry backgrounds and inspirations. We hope that if you are not a member you will think about joining. If you are a member, this is a chance to learn how other WyoPoets’ members get their poetry onto paper. Submissions receive only minor edits. Each poet’s voice clearly shines through. If you would like to share your poetry experiences, email Myra L. Peak for details.