Poet, Teacher, Writer, Editor

     Welcome to my web site.  In various capacities, I'm a poet, teacher, writer, and editor based in western Wisconsin near the Twin Cities.  My work is strongly rooted here, so in my poems you'll meet some of the people, animals, birds, flowers, and trees I encounter day to day, not least the wonderfully named kinnickinnic, or red osier dogwood or red willow, so plentiful in these parts.  I like the symbolism of kinnickinnic, so ready to root from a cutting that the Indians saw it as an emblem of resurrection.

     I've kept this site simple for easy navigation.  "About" will fill you in on a little biographical background.  "Poems" showcases a few poems with which I've been particularly happy over the years.  I'm using the "Blog" section to air occasional essays on literature, culture, and current affairs.  "Publications" provides a brief bibliography of my published work.  "Contact" tells you how to get in touch with me.  (I always welcome comments by readers, not to mention invitations to read or teach.)  And this home page does double duty as a calendar for upcoming events.  I hope you'll have as enjoyable a time glancing around this site as I've had putting it together. 


Reading:  Saturday, July 12, 3 p.m., annual Veterans for Peace "Peacestock" gathering, Red Wing, MN. For more information:  www.peacestockvfp.org
(This all-day event promises to be spectacular with speakers, music, food and a keynote address by Ben Wizner, ACLU counsel to Edward Snowden.)
NOTE:  The venue has been changed to the Hobgoblin Music Barn west of Red Wing on Highway 19, 3/4 mile off Highway 61 toward Cannon Falls.  Go to www.hobgoblin-usa.com for details.

Reading:  Friday, July 18, 7:30 p.m.  Recent work and newly published chapbook Dream Union.  Book House in Dinkytown, Minneapolis, MN.  1316 4th St. SE #201 (above Shuang Cheng Chinese Restaurant), contact 612/331-1430.  Free.


Announcing a New Summer Class at the Loft:
Poetry:  Secrets and Mysteries of Sound
Tuesdays, July 8 - August 12, 6-8 p.m. at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. 
This class is for poets who want to use sound more effectively in their poems.  We'll ask new questions about old matters we may have taken for granted, in hopes of reclaiming forgotten knowledge of the power of sound.  Some neglected aspects of sound in poetry we'll explore include: the distinctive roles of vowels and consonants in setting mood and pace; Pound's three "powers" of spoken poetry; cross-cultural systems relating vowel sounds to specific emotions; overlooked possibilities for rhyme; the importance of pauses and silence; and how to perform our poems out loud.  We'll note some ways great poets such as Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins have employed sound to modulate and enhance emotional tone and meaning in their poems.  We'll also touch on changes of the poet's physical voice over time.   With the help of recorded poems and writing exercises, this class will encourage participants to approach sound in empowering new ways and more fully explore the oral and aural delights of poetry.
For more information or to register:   www.loft.org/classes/detail/?loft_product_id=66529
(This class is filling fast, so register now!)

Recent Publications

Airmail:  The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer is now available from Graywolf Press.  For a report on the official launch held at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis on Tuesday, April 2, see Minneapolis Star Tribune book review editor Laurie Hertzel's blog at


For a perceptive reviewer's take on the book, see Alice Gregory's review for The New Republic at


I am also happy to report that a British edition of Airmail is just out this past summer from Bloodaxe Books in the UK.  The Guardian in its July 12 edition has published a perceptive review by Fiona Sampson.  Sampson writes:  "Testament to the possibilities of [a writing life well-lived], this is a generous, intimate book.  It should be required reading for everyone interested in poems and the making of poetry."  You can find Ms. Sampson's full review at:


Coming in Spring 2015:  A new collection of poems, The Glory, from Red Dragonfly Press.  Watch this space for further announcements!

Recent Entries

When the Rainbow Starts to Pay: The Triumph of Marques Bovre
    Strictly Discs on Monroe Street in Madison, Wisconsin, occupies a deceptively small corner location in a residential business district. …
At Our Grandparents' House, Watching the Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964
Do you remember the fresh shock of the Beatles'look and sound, giddy joy in the choreographedhead-shakes, tumult of yeah-yeahs like…
Tom Hennen: Celebrating a Great Neglected Poet
     Note:  The passage below is excerpted from my longer afterword to Darkness Sticks to Everything: Collected and New…