Posted by: tsopr | April 19, 2010

Alan Britt, American Poet

Alan Britt teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University . His recent books are Vegetable Love (2009), Vermilion (2006), Infinite Days (2003), Amnesia Tango (1998) and Bodies of Lightning (1995). Essays recently in Clay Palm Review and Arson. Interviews and poetry (selected) recently featured in Steaua ( Romania ), Latino Stuff Review and Poet’s Market. Other poems (selected) in Agni, The Bitter Oleander, Bolts of Silk (Scotland), Christian Science Monitor, Cider Press Review, Cold Mountain Review, Comstock Review, Confrontation, The Cultural Journal, English Journal, Epoch, Fire (UK), Flint Hills Review, Fox Cry Review, Gradiva (Italy), Greensboro Review, Hecale (UK/Internet), Kansas Quarterly, Karamu, The Kerf, Magyar Naplo (Hungary), Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Midwest Quarterly, New Letters, Pacific Review, Pedrada Zurda (Ecuador), Puerto del Sol, Queen’s Quarterly (Canada), Revista Solar (Mexico), Rosebud, Second Aeon (Wales), Sou’wester, Square Lake, Strangeroad (Internet), Writers’ Journal, plus the anthologies: American Poets Against the War, Metropolitan Arts Press, Ltd., Chicago/Athens/Dublin, 2009; Vapor transatlántico (Transatlantic Steamer), bi-lingual anthology of Latin American and North American poets, Hofstra University Press/Fondo de Cultura Económica de Mexico/Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Peru, 2008; Fathers: Poems About Fathers,St. Martin’s Press: 1998, Weavings 2000: The Maryland Millennial Anthology,Forest Woods Media Productions, Inc., St. Mary’s College, MD, and La Adelfa Amarga: Seis Poetas Norteamericanos de Hoy, Ediciones El Santo Oficio, Peru, 2003. Recent readings: SUNY at Albany, NY, 2006; Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY, 2006; Towson University, Towson, MD, 2006; PCA/ACA Conference, Boston, 2007, Ultra Violet Studio, Chelsea/NYC, 2007; WPA Gallery at Pound Ridge Reservation, Cross River, NY, 2008; Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) reading and workshop, Baltimore, MD, 2008 and 2009; NCTE: Afro-American Read-In, Towson University, Towson, MD 2008, 2009 and 2010; Ramapo College (Mahwah, NJ), presentation and reading, 2009.

Alan received his Masters Degree from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University . He performs poetry workshops for the Maryland State Arts Council and occasionally publishes the international literary journal, Black Moon, from Reisterstown , Maryland , where he lives with his wife, daughter, two Bouviers des Flandres, one Bichon Friese, and two formerly feral cats.

                                Featured Poetry of Alan Britt


Each poem has its own feral destiny.

So, what’s the use of interfering?

Really, intellectual leaps are obtained
through blind faith in the future, anyway.

Otherwise, why bother
hopping through this banal world
and slinging fresh feces
from behind the bars
of our miserable cages?


Amidst all this debris
I have a life.

Such as it is or will be
at my age.

Amidst all the disappointments
that educated professionalism brings.

I can fly in any direction!

That’s my ultimate freedom
and despair.


I couldn’t do anything
if it weren’t for you guys
up there
out there
or beside me,
wherever it is
you call home.

You took the earth,
expanded it with extraordinary curiosity
and wrote the greatest poems

You invented raucous irony, and the most
god-awful misery known to mankind.

You did what kings only dreamed of doing.

You explored what imagination,
the true king,
said was possible.

It’s because of you
we challenge Lucifer, today,
with all his pet cobras,
and Jesse James
pumping bigotry from a Confederate revolver.

You built a bridge,
Walt Whitman’s,
Father of American poetry,
across a dangerous river
called Democracy and Imperialism.

Walt strolled his lonely piers
looking for signs of life.

He gave us the 20th Century,
albeit a few years early.

So, what else should we expect
from a poet of Walt’s genius?

There are, of course, 21st Century,
too many to mention without neglecting
Beddoes, Bécquer, Baudelaire, and Blake,
(to name a few B’s),
those luminous lunatics allowed to roam
while youthful armies plundered ancient cities.

If you haven’t learned a damn thing
from your poets over the past 2,000 years,
you should pick up a book once in a while,
or tune in to the Poetry Channel
coming soon to a cable company near you!


Marlon said, I’m not interested in your shit!

That’s just the way it is.

So, run our country, literally and figuratively,
into the ground; see if it helps.

But I’m thinking (said Marlon)
there’s another way,
and that’s why my characters often embrace madmen
donning ridiculous hats, ironic scarves,
perfumed ponchos, plus other sundry disguises
fueled by a disturbed frivolity!


That carpet shadow
resembling a tiger moth,
Rumi says: It could be the Holy One,
or, it could mean that your carpet
needs a good cleaning.

You decide.

Copyright © 2010 Alan Britt


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