Art Chowder September | October 2021 Issue No. 35 Issue 35 - Page 59

to both of them by turns and I would occasionally interrupt my backyard science experiments , model rocketry , horseback riding , BB gun shooting , and engineering of Rube Goldberg Hot Wheels jumps to pull one or both of these volumes down off the shelf and ponder their shimmering inscrutability . I guess maybe it was inevitable that I would eventually find myself writing both types of poems by
turns as well — mainly , at first , to a particular girl , but eventually with a wider audience in mind , and finally , and mostly always , to please myself .”
When I asked him to describe his creative career , Potter said , “ I don ’ t know if it could be called a career , but it has been a persistent urge that goes back to my teenage years . I had a strong sense of wanting to write — poetry in particular — that was awakened by a class called ‘ Forms ’ that I took during my sophomore year of high school . That class , taught by a terrific teacher named Joan Hue , marked a before-and-after line in my life . Prior to it , I thought I would become an aerospace engineer ; by the end of it , I knew I would be a poet . The readings in the class flipped a light on in my head —‘ Johnny Got His Gun ’ by Dalton Trumbo , ‘ One Flew Over the Cuckoo ’ s Nest ’ by Ken Kesey , ‘ J . B .’ by Archibald MacLeish , and most importantly the poetry of e . e . cummings . I wrote a poem based on the Kesey novel in the style of cummings and shared it with Mrs . Hue — and much to my horror and delight , she mimeographed it and shared it with the class the next day . The sheet Mrs . Hue handed out didn ’ t have my name on it , and she only revealed its authorship to the class after everyone had read it and discussed its merits as if it were an actual piece of literature . Which I guessed it was .”
Potter has worked in libraries and currently is assistant director for library services and special collections at Washington State University , Spokane . “ From a Rodney Dangerfield standpoint , being a librarian gets you just about as much respect in the world as being a poet . So , the librarian-poet gets a doubledollop of humility at times . On the other hand , there ’ s a mystique to librarianship that certainly does inform and nourish the mystery of being a poet . In general , the library field is a good safety net for the trapeze work that is poetry ,” said Potter .
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