Real Poetry

reviews, tips, and personal/local writing

Rest stops


It’s really rather nice to have that point in any trip where you can stop and just unwind a bit. I usually find that I’ve been tensing up and a lot more uncomfortable than I’ve thought when I finally get that chance to move around and stretch my legs.

The past 5 1/2 hours of driving have gone by pretty quickly for me really. Listening to The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho as narrated by Jeremy Irons has definitely helped. It’s honestly the first audio book I’ve ever tried out. As far as a distraction from driving, it really works.

Anyway, I’m getting back to my break. Continue having a great Thursday,

Stephen R.



Hey everyone,

There is something so invigorating about starting a long trip. Anyway, I wanted to put something up briefly before I started this 7 1/2 hour drive. I may update/add to this post later, but I hope you all are doing well.

Stephen R.


Jobs and People… What’s More Important?

Happy almost May everyone,

I want to try to briefly discuss work and careers with you all today, what with graduating last year and looking for work/a better job (still looking at the moment) it’s been on my mind quite a bit. More specifically, I want to identify the two most important factors in any job… As I have noticed in my experience. These are (1) finding a job you like and (2) liking the people you work with.

Now the first of these is something I’ve heard time and again throughout growing up. You should work a job you care about because at the end of the day it means you’ll apply yourself more and work harder at that job. It makes sense and really is an applicable factor to have when looking for work, but I’ve found that the other factor is far more important to me.

You can have the best job in the world, the one job you may have always wanted and is the absolute ideal for you. But if you are working with people you dislike, surrounded by rude people or people who don’t work and you begin to resent them, how long can you actually maintain liking that job. In my experience, the easiest and most fun of jobs can be entirely ruined because of this, insuring I would never return to work there again.

A person buffing a floor with a buffer

Yeah, buffing a floor is fun with the right people… especially if you get thrown around a room trying to figure it out.

On the other hand, the inverse of the above situation is true. Lets say you’re working a job you don’t necessarily like. A job that is a placeholder as you look for better work, or maybe a job you finally had to settle on. If you’re working with nice people and you become friends with them to the point that it is fun to be around them, how long could you really resent your job? You can almost look forward to the work, because rather than returning to a job you may hate with people you dislike as well, you’re returning to hang out with friends. The work is almost incidental when you can enjoy yourself in the process.

Anyway, I just wanted to share these thoughts down for this week. I hope you all are doing splendidly,

Stephen R.

Comics… You Heard Me

Justice League #1

Better than Avengers… yeah, I said it. ūüėČ

Hello hello everyone,

Today I’ve decided to write a little bit about a form of reading I’ve more recently taken a liking to: reading comics. Now in the past I’ve read a few graphic novels. Most noticeably Watchmen before the movie came out as well as some Batman novels that a friend or two suggested.

In the past year, however, I’ve started to read current comics. For myself, this means the DC world: Batman, Justice League, even a little Green Lantern (a super hero I’d never been interested in in the past). But my reading has extended a little further to also include the Image comic Saga, among others. It’s got more adult scenes and graphic depictions, but if you’re old enough it is a really fun and exciting read.

Yeah... lots of weird aliens.  I highly recommend it.

Yeah… lots of weird aliens. I highly recommend it.

And I think that last comment is the core of what reading a comic is for me. In simplest terms, reading a comic is like watching an episode of a TV show. Though possibly another good comparison would be to the serialized novels Dickens wrote in his time, or an amalgamation of both. Regardless, it’s something that takes 15-20 minutes to read, usually has jam packed action, beautiful artwork, and, in the case of the current Scott Snyder run of Batman, can be very well written and exciting to follow. It’s a bit of an addiction for me at this point.

Creepy, haunting, and yet oh so beautiful

Creepy, haunting, and yet oh so beautiful

If you haven’t noticed yet from the deluge of pictures in today’s post, I really do like comics. ¬†If you have even a slight interest I would highly recommend you pick some up and give it a try. ¬†I myself am a digital consumer through my iPad. ¬†And with most comics costing a mere $2 an issue and issues releasing only once a month it’s not that expensive of a hobby.

Anyway, do any of you have a series of comics you like to read? Anyone never read any and want a suggestion as to where to start?

Maybe you think I’m crazy and have no basis to write about comics here?

Too bad on the last one :P. Because things are changing, and reading comics is a much larger part of my reading than it used to be… So you can undoubtedly expect a little more in the future.

Anyway, sound off in the comments below, and I hope your week is going splendidly,

Stephen R.

That’s Right, Still Here


Heeeelllo everyone,

It’s such a beautiful morning, and I just recently finished reading one of the books on my list, Zoli. So I thought I’d share an excerpt that I liked enough to underline and write a reminder to share.

“Str√°nsky once wrote that only when a man dies can his life acquire a beginning, middle, and an end: up until then we are constantly unfinished, even the midpoint cannot be located. So only the final word finds the middle word and this, in a way, becomes a verse—one’s death explains oneself.”
-Colum McCann

Again, I hope you all are doing and continue to do well,

Stephen R.

I’m Back Baby

desk and bookshelves

My life as it is currently… cluttered and beautiful.

Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello.

Yeah, it’s been awhile. But I don’t have much time for tear filled reunions and heartfelt, compassionate storytelling of the twists and turns my life has taken in the past months. (Also I don’t want to put you to sleep.)

But the important thing to remember is, this blog has been on my mind for pretty much the entirety of my time away. The problem for me has been I’ve felt limited with the current template/format for the blog as it is. I’ve had so many different things come up that I would love to write about: short fiction pieces, random story time, essays for the sake of essays, longer serial story ideas, the list goes on.

So what is a guy to do?

Well, change the dang format I say. So that’s exactly what I’m doing. You’ll notice a few changes already. First, I’m including a separate page to list all my current/future/past reading if you are interested in knowing that information. It will include what I’m currently reading (always more than one book), a list of books I’ve already read (starting recently… I don’t have the time to dredge up every single book I’ve read in life), and lastly a section for future reading. Check out the page and feel free to make suggestions for future additions to read as well. I’m always on the lookout for more.

Most other changes at the moment will be minor switches. I want to feel the freedom to write what I want and that’s what these changes will bring about.

Anyways, expect more things to come soon. I won’t lie, I’ve missed all of your youth filled, expectant, shining, lugubrious faces. And maybe that’s an exaggeration, my imagination, or an intensification on my part. And maybe you just had to look up the word lugubrious to realize I may have used that improperly for you. But I’m back and ready.

Lets get some stuff done people,

Stephen R.

Brief Update

Well hello there everyone,

Remember me? ¬†The guy who randomly shares poetry and writes about poetry and a long time ago reviewed poetry? ¬†Well for those who aren’t capable of reading dates and telling the difference in time between posts, it’s been over a month since my last post. ¬†I apologize profusely, with every last ounce of my ever present conscience, but to put things bluntly I just haven’t been in the mood to write here.

That said, I do want to let you all know that I am still writing for myself, but I haven’t felt particularly inspired to put something up on the blog to share with the world. ¬†I just felt bad leaving things off for the past month with a memorial post.

I finished Parzival for those concerned, and I started to read some Stephen King books as well to get into the Halloween spirit: The Dead Zone and It.  Not gonna lie, reading horror fiction is a new venture for me, one that makes me nervous.  My first experience with It was seeing the first scene of the movie back when I was 10 or 11.  Just from that one scene, I was scared to sit on a toilet for months.

Now that the embarrassing share fest is over I think I’ll just leave things off here and wish you all a happy and safe Halloween. ¬†I still need to carve up my pumpkin, hopefully I’ll be able to get that picture added to the end of this post.

You’ll be hearing from me soon, because the inspiration for some posts here have been mulling in my mind for a while. ¬†Stay safe,

Stephen R.

For Dr. Becker: Steve’s Current Read – Parzival

Hello there everyone,

It seems like it was just the other day I was writing that remembrance for Dr. Shirley, and now another amazing professor of mine, Dr. Harald Becker, has passed after a recent battle with cancer. ¬†He was a person with a passion for German heritage and literature, and he strived to help students see just how important everything he taught was in regards to life and living. ¬†The class I took with him was completely dedicated to just reading the German novel¬†Parzival¬†by Wolfram von Eschenbach. ¬†It’s a sad thing to have two such amazing people pass over the past month.

A photo of Dr. Harald Becker's Parzival class all in Parzival red

I was considering starting an official post in regards to what I’m reading at the time, not specifically poetry but whatever book I’m reading. ¬†I actually have several in my stack of current reading, but I decided to pull¬†Parzival off the shelf and give it another read through in light of Dr. Becker’s passing.

I want to include a short passage from a later section in the book:

Excerpt from Book XVI

Now Anfortas received these two joyously, and yet with signs of suffering. ¬†He said, “I have bided in misery for you to come and make me glad. You left me before in such a way that, if you are sincere about helping me, you must regret. If ever praise was spoken of you, then prevail upon the knights and maidens here to give me death and let my agony end! If your name is Parzival, keep me from the sight of the Grail for seven nights and eight days, and then all my lamentations will cease. I do not dare give you any further hint. Blessing upon you if help is reported of you!– Your companion is a stranger here: I cannot have him standing before me. Why do you not allow him to go and rest?”

All in tears then, Parzival said, “Tell me where the Grail is kept here. If God’s goodness triumphs in me, this throng of people shall be witness to it.”

Then, facing in that direction, he genuflected thrice in honor of the Trinity, praying that help might be vouchsafed for this sorrowful man’s pain of heart. He rose to his feet again and said, “Uncle, what is it that troubles you?”

He, Who for Saint Sylvester’s sake brought a bullock back to life from the dead, and Who bade Lazarus rise, the Same gave help that Anfortas was healed and made well again.

Rest in Peace Dr. Becker and may whatever ails you be made well,

Stephen R.

Naomi Shihab Nye – “Alive”

Hey everyone out there,

Alright, I know this poem of the week is a little delayed, but for those who missed the tweet I put out, I wasn’t feeling well when I usually write up that post, so I decided to delay it to today. Anyway, this poem comes from Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet who I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and hearing read from the book I have of hers: Transfer.

I feel like a few of the poems I’ve posted lately have had a bit of a sad undercurrent to them, so I thought I’d liven things up a bit with this one. It makes me smile to read and I can recall hearing this one read by Naomi. I hope you all enjoy.


Dear Abby, said someone from Oregon,
I am having trouble with my boyfriend’s attachment
to an ancient gallon of milk still full
in his refrigerator. I told him it’s me or the milk,
is this unreasonable? Dear Carolyn,
my brother won’t speak to me
because fifty years ago I whispered
a monkey would kidnap him in the night
to take him back to his true family
but he should have known it was a joke
when it didn’t happen, don’t you think?
Dear Board of Education, no one will ever
remember a test. Repeat. Stories,
poems, projects, experiments,
mischief, yes, but never a test.
Dear Dog Behind the Fence, you really need
to calm down now. You have been barking every time
I walk to the compost for two years
and I have not robbed your house. Relax.
When I asked the man on the other side
if you bothered him too, he smiled and said no,
he makes me feel less alone. Should I be more
worried about the dog or the man?

– Naomi Shihab Nye

Theodore Roethke – “The Waking”

That’s right folks, I’m doing a second poem of the week on Roethke… and there’s nothing you can do about it. ūüėČ

Honestly, like I said previously, I really do love Roethke’s poetry and wanted to put in at least one more of his poems this month, but I promise I’ll take a break from him next week. This poem is a villanelle, a form of poetry that I find incredibly difficult to do.

I hope everyone out there is doing amazingly well, and for those starting classes best of luck in the coming year.

Stephen R.

A dirt path through a wooded area

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

-Theodore Roethke

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