Door County Poet Profile: John Patrick Redell

Home: Egg Harbor/Sister Bay, formerly Chicago.

Favorite poet: My favorite poets are the ones I know and read and listen to from the Door. The Dickinson Poetry Series at the Unitarian Fellowship in Ephraim has been instrumental in my interest in local poets and in continuing my own writing.

Favorite poem: I selfishly claim that my favorite is always the one I am currently working on.

Favorite book of poetry: There are so many; so many different styles.

Structured or free verse: Both.

Favorite themes: My intentions are grand, but somehow veer into a darkness that I try to avoid, but eventually give in to, realizing that my skeptical nature rules.

Inspiration: Nature, people, events and sometimes my own mismanaged past experiences.

Where do you write? Alone, in silence, with perhaps some jazz in the background and a beverage nearby. I am always ready with pen in hand to take notes on occurrences that may provide ideas for future meanderings.

How often do you write? Not quite every day. Inspiration is not consistent.

How many drafts do you go through? Many; I continue changes until published or read or trashed.

Any advice to beginning poets? Continue to write, even if your stuff makes no sense. Someday it will.

Where can readers find your poetry? I have had a few things published in the Pulse and in a chapbook published by the Unitarian Universalists of Door County.

Searching For The Word
By John Redell

The flickering glow of candlelight
Filters through a half empty wineglass

Words will not come – and the thoughts are barely there

Sometimes the words write themselves
Not tonight – no, not tonight
Perhaps some more red wine will help
Then maybe the thought and word will pair

A streetlight outside
Vies with the candle for my attention

The darkness, though, is not for naught

Clouds obscure unseen stars
Snow melting underneath my feet
I forget to wear shoes
While searching for the lost thought

That streetlight in the distance
That candle nearby; that wine within reach

Hoping for just one word

Darkness all around
And silence – oh, yes, silence
Hoping for some primitive sound
A thought the wine is turning absurd

Am I now – what I will ever be
Or is trying to search for a word – a thought

A part of some vague equation

Is my present predicament
A permanent search
For stray thoughts to coalesce
Or merely a temporary situation

Staring at the bottom of an empty glass
Should I just forget to try

Writing something that is profound

Emptiness is what the world is about
Hunger and hopelessness
I refill my glass with the Grateful Dead
And then turn up the sound