Posted by: tsopr | September 29, 2010

Alan Britt, American Poet

Alan Britt’s recent books are Greatest Hits (2010), Vegetable Love (2009), Vermilion (2006), Infinite Days (2003), Amnesia Tango (1998) and Bodies of Lightning (1995). Britt’s work also appears in the new anthologies, American Poets Against the War, Metropolitan Arts Press, 2009 and Vapor transatlantico (Transatlantic Steamer), a bi-lingual anthology of Latin American and North American poets, Hofstra University Press/Fondo de Cultura Economica de Mexico/Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos de Peru, 2008.

Politically speaking Alan has started the Commonsense Party, which ironically to some sounds radical. He believes the US should stop invading other countries to relieve them of their natural resources including tin, copper, bananas, diamonds and oil. He is quite fond of animals both wild and domestic and supports prosecuting animal abusers. As a member of PETA, he is disgusted by factory farming and decorative fur. Alan currently teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University and lives in Reisterstown, Maryland with his wife, daughter, two Bouviers des Flandres, one Bichon Frise and two formerly feral cats.

                                Featured Poetry of Alan Britt

Poem about Feeling

Did you ever feel like you were
an entire community of people?

A whole village
living inside your chest?

Sort of like living in a traveling
Renaissance festival
and you don’t know how you got there?

Men bellying—up to the bare shoulders
of a midsummer night’s dream,
instead of the local pub?

Well, I feel like that today.

Watching a Squirrel Navigate a Split-rail Fence

Time produces visceral intelligence.

We call it evolution.

But if a family of rodents
suddenly became proficient
at surviving in trees,
over millennia
they might be called squirrels,
with fat, bushy tails
that twitch
according to territorial thoughts,
providing the perfect balance
between life and death.

Further Unfinished Conversations with a Catbird


   No, you see the crow is a pain in
the ass, who must be dealt with on a daily
basis. You think he’s cute, even charming,
when he’s really a corporate attorney slicing
up the neighborhood.

   I presume the two of you don’t get along
all that well?

   Not bad for a chubby poet.



   In the last 45 minutes all the dogs for
two square blocks have been dispelling old
rumors and creating new myths.

   I know.


   The breeze is cool for late May.

   This time last year it was sweltering!

   We ate a lot of Chinese food.

   How can you eat that stuff?


   You see that grackle on a telephone line?
He wipes his beak twice, dumps, then sprints
to a different electrical line. What’s that all

   He’s trying to look attractive. He’s groomed;
he feels fresh, and he’s looking for a good time.
He hasn’t got the longest life-span, you know.

   Neither do I.


   The wolves are howling.

   The family’s still shopping at the mall.
You have excellent ears!


Again, leopard sunlight spots the backyard
for three seconds, then fades like melancholy.

                    -END- (Part V)

An Abbreviated Look at the Good Tidings Mania Sweeping the Country

Good tidings!

I’m sorry?

I said, ‘Good tidings,’ my dear man!

Oh, yes. I suppose they are.


I said, ‘I suppose they are,’
…the tidings, you know, things
that appear to be good, even when they
don’t actually exist.

You’re something of a philosopher,
I take it?

Well, I’m a father, actually.

What’s a father?

Well, a father is someone
on the look-out for good tidings.
His family demands all the good tidings
they can get!

Strange job.

Yes. It’s not a job exactly.

Well, it is. It’s just that I
don’t get paid for it.

Then, why do you do it?

I have children. In this case, one child.
But, normally, I have several children,
and they each require a rather large helping
of good tidings. Seems to go
with being a father.

What else do fathers do?

I’m not at liberty to say.

Why not?

I hardly know you. You
could be the devil, for all I know.
Or, my god, the spirit of J. Edgar Hoover
come back for the perfect prom date!

And you think you could be the perfect
prom date?

Not with you, you quack!
With Cynthia DeBartolo, perhaps.

But, you two ended up in a cornfield,
with no clue as to how you got there!

What’s your point?

I don’t need a point.

Why not?

Because I’m J. Edgar Hoover!

Good point!

(And so, the Good Tidings craze continues,
like a swarm of bees
led by a drunken queen, who wobbles
from a plastic, peanut-butter-jelly sandwich bag.

Note: There’s no way to fully comprehend
the intricacies of a single tiding.
All we can hope for is the visceral embrace
that one occasionally has on our soul.)

Copyright © 2010 Alan Britt


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