National Poetry Month: April 19

Hi friends!

I am so fortunate to be a part of this writing community in Milwaukee, and get to lead two amazing writing roundtables. Sometimes, in rare months, my once a month Thursday evening group (6:30- 9:00 pm) is followed by my Friday morning group (9:30- 12 noon). When this happens, I often joke about how it feels as if I’ve slept in the school room.

And, perhaps, in some form or manner, I have? Certain poems take us back in time, to places in our youth, in our previous lives that we’ve perhaps blocked, or not thought about for years. Hunting? Cycling? Skateboarding? Maybe you tried something once and didn’t like it. Maybe your parents picked up a sport, say downhill skiing, and you’d have rather been on a beach in San Diego.

Today I read Aaron Smith’s “What’s Required.” On the surface, this poem is narrative, straight forward, and melancholy. Men are animals, so complex, and multi-layered. And this poem then, too, has depth and rare brave exposure. A refreshing, stark glimpse into what drives that rare species known as Man:

Robert Vaughan reads “What’s Required” by Aaron Smith – YouTube

Did you ever kill an animal? What was that like? Is there some childhood activity you forgot about until experiencing a poem or story?

About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Synergia Ranch, Cedar Valley and The Clearing. His poems and fiction are published in over 600 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans, and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at Bending Genres and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is nine times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His flash fiction was selected for Best Small Fictions 2016 and 2019. His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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