All About Words . . . and Connections

Reading a poem I wrote for them during Poems-In-a-Minute at the Woody Guthrie Center, Tulsa

Reading a poem I wrote for them during Poems-In-a-Minute at the Woody Guthrie Center, Tulsa

I have “journey in words” tattooed on my right arm . . . in three different languages. I truly mean it–taking that journey in words, and my tagline is “journey inwards.” The two are connected: I’m not just playing with words when I write or do poems-in-a-minute or show people how to make block poetry. I am also going inside or helping other people to go inside and see where those words take us.

I am not an academic writer–poetry (my main gig) is too personal for the world of the classroom and office and committee and literary journal. I want people to actually read and have a connection with poetry. This connection can happen with anyone–you definitely do not have to be a poet.

What I do at my museum, the Rural Oklahoma Museum of Poetry, is provide an experience for people to enjoy and to be inspired by words and poetry. I do the same when I’m on the road–doing Poems-In-A-Minute or a workshop or just talking with people at a festival or conference. I want everyone to be able to see the beauty of words in their lives, the beauty and the mystery of poetry’s effect upon us.

I was a high school teacher for 25 years, and I still teach some college classes. I no longer have a full-time job, but I am also not retirement age. I teach a few classes and I write for 4 different publications, and I travel with my ROMP poetry road show and make ends meet. I would have an easier life if I had stayed in the academic field, but it would not be my life . . . and ROMP and Journey in Words would never have happened.

The world is an exciting place, full of people I want to meet and share words and poetry and joy with. Are you game? If so, find me at someplace I will be (check out the calendar) or come to ROMP for an event or just because you can sometime. We will be well-met.

–Shaun Perkins

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