In My Ohio

On Us (Poetry and Ohio)

Darren C. Demaree
I have been lacking. I have declared myself for one body, and then I have not spoken directly to the head of that body. I have aligned myself as often as possible with Ohio and with poetry, and not once have I offered myself back in return. This is what I’m doing today.

I have friends that have taught poetry in universities, in community workshops, even in prisons, but I have stuck to teaching writing only in my small career college. This inequity has started to wear on me. I can’t will myself a better career path, and my own poetry (which has alarmingly little to do with the career of writing) has begun to yield actual rewards. I have been lucky enough to place three full collections in the last three years, and however tremendous that feels to me personally, it does very little for Ohio.

Back to the offer. I would like to extend myself to you. Young poet, old poet, prisoner poet, unsure poet, loud person, if you are from Ohio or living in Ohio, or feel the warmth of Ohio around your shoulders from a different land, please get in contact with me (darren@altohio.com). Let’s talk poetry. Let’s talk about your poetry and what poetry can do to grow Ohio. Let’s find a community built on raising the level of discussion of the arts, and let’s be as infinitely open as the technology of the day allows.

Whatever you may think of my poetry or my offer, please know that you will not be turned away (unless your behavior warrants it) because you have no experience or no success in this realm. In fact, if your introduction to poetry is an email to me, I will consider it to be a great honor.

I am carrying no mantles while I make this offer. I am young. I have no awards to distinguish myself. I have more passion and dedication to Ohio and poetry than I have the ability to garner any tremendous wage for those things. So, while I am still wholly un-scattered by the pursuit of legacy, let’s build this family together.

I can be your sounding board, but I can’t be your only sounding board. We can find you other sounding boards. We can make poetry in Ohio something grand and vibrant and recognizable from a great distance. It can be one of our better energies, and if you have found yourself with any adrenaline for the creative, please drop me a note.

If you would like to learn anything about me before you make contact, you can visit my website (darrencdemaree.com). If you would like to meet in person and discuss the idea of sharing your work or your ideas, I will be reading at Kobo (Columbus) on Monday, April 21 at 7pm.

I think I can do more for Ohio and for poetry. I think we all can. This is just one idea for how that can happen. My best to you and yours and your poetry.