Burgess Needle

I never thought of myself as a writer until a high school teacher praised a short paragraph of mine by telling me it read like poetry. From that day on I self-identified as a writer.  Catcher In the Rye was the first novel that gave me goose bumps.  Jack Kerouac and the beats were among my earliest influences. Wonderful professors at the University of Massachusetts introduced me to the world of 17th Century English literature and drew me deeper into the world of the metaphysical poets -- especially John Donne. Later, Shelley and Keats were followed by Blake, Wordsworth and Coleridge.  I did not find Whitman until after graduation on my father’s bookshelf.  The poetry crowd I hung out with drew me to Rimbaud and I spent days reading every biography of his I could find. One of my life's regrets is that my French was never good enough to appreciate Rimbaud in his own language. As a young man I became friends with the Vermont  poet Ruth Stone who kindly guided and reinforced my poetic journey. Before, during and after college I held a series of odd, sometimes dangerous, but always interesting jobs. I traveled, had adventures and met some magical people. I gradually understood it was all potential material.

Toward the end of my career as an educator, I was accepted into one of SAWP’s Summer Institutes and was nurtured by the incredible energy of the facilitators and the synergy developed with other students. During those six summer weeks I found my voice as a writer. All those wonderful writing exercises helped me focus and develop an eye for expanding basic themes and how to edit the finished product.

After thirty years as a librarian, writing poetry, short stories and features for magazines and newspapers, I retired and directed my creative energies to poetry, beginning to get published in small on-line and print journals. My most recent favorite poets are: Michael Ryan, Matt Donovan, Matthew Dickman, Hayden Carruth, Steve Orlen and Mark Doty. Diminuendo Press of Texas published my first collection in December of 2009. That book is dedicated to my wife, Barbara, and to my parents, Miriam Hoffman Needle and Sam Needle who raised six children in a house filled with books. My second collection, THAI COMIC BOOKS, [Big Table Publishing, 2013] is dedicated to Wisut Pinyovanichka, my room mate for two years while I served in the Peace Corps.

The majority of the poems in these collections have also been published in small press publications, including: Black Market Review (UK), Connotation Press, 10,000 Tons of Black Ink, Blackbox Manifold (UK), Concho River Review, Raving Dove, Boston Literary Magazine, Decanto (UK), Centrifugal Eye, Iodine, Prick of the Spindle, The Camel Saloon, Flutter, Origami Condom, Ken*Again, Under the Radar [UK] Kritya (India), Prism Review, Snow Monkey, Brittle Star (UK), Gutter Eloquence, Blue Lake Review, Eunoia Review, Minotaur, Nutshell Magazine (UK), Clockwise Cat, DeComp Magazine, Peacock on-line Review, SNReview and Red Fez.

You can visit my website at http://www.burgessneedle.com to read my work or purchase my books.

Read more about Burgess Needle on PoemHunter.com.