(above cartoon of one of David Elsey’s poems is from a series at blog Turn The Page)

Like a famed cockroach I was a verse libre poet, a hard worker with pad and quill; I could separate Malcolm Lowery from Robert Creeley in a dozen dimensions. I haunted the Mountain Writers Series, volunteered at ArtQuake, joined the OSPA, clamored at open mikes, encouraged youngsters, translated the forgotten, published the ingenious. Matt Groening, of all people wiped my ambitions out with a cynical swipe, with a Life In Hell comic – you poets know which one I mean. It struck me to the core – so true, so completely undoing my every shallow nuance. My friends and family were visibly relieved.

Here’s what I know is true about poets. They never give up. They can’t be stopped. No amount of foreclosure, of earthly dread will affect their relentless output of words.

Those of us who put the pen down are fakers. Or were fakers. Now we have quit: we’re the quitters.

What makes a poet, in a large part, and what makes an artist, is this blind determination to make things, carefully construct a representation of their heart and soul, prepare it in a suitable socially acceptable format, and send it out into the wild world to wait for an audience, a buyer, a reader. It’s a game of altruism, a dance of language, the magical charge sparking between me and you.

David Elsey is a poet – a Portland poet dedicated to every part of the community of poetry. He has a purpose and a voice, and he has published poems and a stories in magazines throughout America. He has also published four chapbooks with Quiet Lion Press, Gray Light, Finding Evidence, Green Water Tower, and Always There. He is one of several poets-in-residence at Multnomah County Library’s Central Branch.

What’s made David great is his focus and constant toil on his craft, his words. When you read them, they’re often small. About a small thing, but just right. Try out this one.

Last night: plinks on a tin roof.
This morning: pools where potholes were,
shimmering disks and ovals.

That’s it. That’s enough. David writes about urban nature, about his crazy family, about strong feelings and loneliness. He’s a survivor, alone with his words for a lifetime on this planet. His poetic voice is close to the ground, constructed with care and purpose, and recognizable over years of writing, publishing and reading.

Read more David Elsey at Wordstock.
Scoring Points and One More Morning – by David Elsey
Portland Poets, past & present