Member Spotlight for the Month of July 2005 - Glenn Currier

Glenn CurrierMany of the poems in Glenn Currier's library were born during his conversations with God.

"One of the ways God speaks to me is through journaling," says Glenn. "I always begin with 'Dear God' or 'Dear Papa God' ... He's a father figure to me. Then it becomes a dialogue. I am amazed at how much He says to me in my writing. It's a time when I'm absolutely honest about everything that's happening deep down inside of me.

"A lot of my poems come from my journaling."

Writing poetry accomplishes many things for Glenn.

He uses it to dress up the language and show it off: "When I was a teenager in high school, a fellow student tried to bully me; I remember using words - probably big ones - as my response. He was so disoriented and confused he just turned around and walked away. I knew then that words were my friends."

It's a way for him to express ideas: "I write poetry because it gets me out of my head and into my heart."

It's also an outlet for his observations on his relationships: "I have a gift for seeing the light in people, and seeing the good in people. I show that through poetry."

It also turned out to be the perfect vehicle for handling his Attention Deficit Disorder - a condition the 62-year-old Dallas sociology teacher was diagnosed with only a few years ago. This personal revelation had a profound impact on Glenn's life ... and writing.

"My brain wiring has been the root of many of my problems in life, but it is also the greatest source of my creativity," says Glenn. "My mind wanders all over the place, and in those wanderings picks up images and words that I plant in my poetry."

Because of his ADD, Glenn rarely has the patience - or interest - to edit his work.

"Sometimes I will write part of a poem and get stuck," Glenn says. "Then I return a few days later after the poem has had a chance to percolate in my unconscious. I will often get an idea for a poem but have to let it incubate before it comes out." He's written about this process in one or two of his poems.

Glenn usually reads his poetry aloud before he posts it, because one of the most important factors in revising his work is how the rhythm sounds.

"The sounds of words are important," he says. "Can I say them with ease and do they rest easy on the ear? Or do they irritate the ear and the eye when I want that to happen?"

Glenn often gets his wife of 35 years, Helen, to read or listen to his poetry, and he frequently incorporates her suggestions. "And I will almost always change my poems when I get constructive suggestions here on pathetic.org," he adds.

The likes of Edgar Allen Poe greatly affected Glenn when he was a teenager, later yielding to the influences of Pablo Neruda ("the giant whose passion and gift make him seem kin to me") and Billy Collins ("whose poems unlock my creative spirit and help me to realize that great poetry can come from the most mundane aspects of our lives"), as well as Lao Tsu (the father of Taoism) and Robert Frost.

Pathetic poets who have had an impact on Glenn include Garth Hill, Anne Engelen, Charlie Morgan, Chris Sorrenti, J.D. Clay, Philip F. De Pinto, James Byrne, Maureen Glaude, Gavin Roy and Sallie Mattison Young. He enjoys reading poetry by people who have found God through religion, such as Quentin Clingerman, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Francis Thompson.

Of his own work, Glenn names "Neruda's Fountain" as one of his favorites. Inspired by Pablo Neruda, "it was one of the first poems I wrote after returning to writing several years ago," Glenn says. "I still like it because it was creative and fun to write."

Another poem that moves him is one he completed recently: "The Boy with the Lantern."

Dedicated to a young couple who are his second cousins, Glenn recently read the mother's eulogy for her child (who possibly died from shaken baby syndrome at the hands of a sitter). "There were so many aspects to it," he says. "I thought I could write the poem about their angst, from their point of view."

As the idea for the poem incubated, he soon thereafter found his moment of clarity.

"I was going down the freeway in Dallas a few days later," Glenn says. "Somebody had thrown a kitten out of the window in a paper bag (part of a gang initiation, possibly). I was going 60 mph, but managed to pass it without hitting it. Then I looked back and it had managed to get up on its front feet. It was looking right up at me! It makes me want to weep to tell this story.

"That experience of that kitten's death really helped emphasize to me what those parents had been going through. I thought, 'if that bothered me, I can't even fathom what it would be like to lose a child.'"

After that, when he went to write the poem, he simply closed his eyes to see what would come.

"I just let the images come into my mind, and it did," says Glenn. "And I got this image of this little boy waving a lantern."

Then, with a little help from God, he captured its quintessence.

"I guess if I had one and only one thing to say about my poetry and poetry writing, it would be that it is a spiritual experience for me."

The following is a list of the highlights of Glenn Currier's poetry:


The member spotlighted in this month's "Member Spotlight" is chosen by the pathetic.org Spotlight committee, which is made up of a small group of site patrons and administrators. Each month a member is selected for this privilege based upon contributions to pathetic.org and the quality of work.

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