Posted by: tsopr | February 13, 2011

Alan Britt, American Poet

Alan Britt’s recent books are Greatest Hits (2010), Hurricane (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, Chicago/Athens/Dublin: 2009 and Vapor transatlántico (Transatlantic Steamer), a 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.

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 formally feral cats.

                                  Featured Poetry of Alan Britt


Streetlamps are no mystery,
lit from underground cables
laid by humans,
plus porchlights
that flicker
behind plum leaves
nudged by lethargic breezes.

But these fireflies?

Do you imagine
they’re the carriers
of lanterns,
as Merwin might’ve said,
somehow the keepers
of terrestrial fire?

Well, I don’t know.

What planet
are you from,

I don’t think
I could ever teach you
the secrets of ecstasy.

For one thing
I don’t understand
them myself.

Ahh, but perhaps
I can introduce you
to the hungry slug
folded over the edge
of my rose-tinted
wine glass,
as he/she slurps
the residue
of chardonnay
when I’m not looking.

You do know
what chardonnay
is, don’t you?

Oh, dear.
We’re in
for a long night!


Whistles, chirps,
repetitive warbles
enough to rival
Walt Whitman’s enumerations.

of whistles
in rapid
followed by a fractured whistle
that makes
the entire orchestra

A sonata
is born.

Don’t kid yourself;
composers stay up
as late as I do.


Have you ever imagined
the earth
as a blue chess piece
on an alien game board?

What? I know it’s late.
Only air-conditioners
and that incessant mockingbird
are still awake!

But the earth
in its incredible complexity
to us
could be nothing more
than a chip
on an alien game board decorated
with dinosaurs,
Presidents and traffic court judges
suffering beneath their heavy robes.


Sadly, at this moment,
fixated heavily
on my demons,
I find it aggravating, at best,
to dream.

Still, the mockingbird
with abandon!


If Mozart sonatas improve children’s intellect,
we must have the most intelligent
dogs in Reisterstown,
what with their steady diet
of Baroque concertos,
surreal quartets,
and grand tangos.

When they’re alone,
we provide unsupervised listening
via the local classical station.

It suits their temperaments.

Fewer torn pillows
and chewed bathroom tissue.

We occasionally throw in a little Steely Dan
for good measure.

You know, they’re peaceful dogs.

Only one of them changed rooms
the other day during Messiaen’s
oboes fluttering
like moths
below the dining room chandelier;
otherwise, it’s been smooth sailing.

Presently, sunlight through a white ceiling fan
ignites our three dogs
as they stretch their Renaissance bones,
flickering legs
and Bartok hips
into dreaming zebras.


On the verge of nonsense
a violin reveals her gender.

Scratched queens and kings
flung into piles
on gambling tables
at Heaven’s leading casino.

But, tonight, we escape,
incognito, dressed as Gnostics
fueled by the latest
Australian shiraz.

Copyright © 2011 Alan Britt


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