Friday, November 8, 2013

Jerry's Poetry

Self-Portrait with Writer's Block, Jerry the Bird, 1975 (approx.).

Although Jerry earned his living writing pulp mysteries under a variety of pen names, he began writing poetry late in his life, and during his last few years he was able to write several hundred. Only a few dozen of these were ever published during his lifetime, mostly in small magazines of limited circulation.

Jerry acknowledged that he wrote mysteries for money, and did not put much emotional investment into them. He described them as technical exercises where he tried to imitate human behavior. In his poetry, however, Jerry was able to explore his own feelings and experiences. He wrote about his early life, his many years as a drifter, and about the difficulty he had in finding his way in human society. We can speculate that writing about this personal subject matter led him to try his hand at memoir, which led to the him writng Among The Humans, the one book for which he is remembered.

According to Among The Humans, Jerry was inspired to try writing poetry after meeting and falling in love with a human woman. The woman, named "Penelope" in the book, tells him that she read poetry, and he began studying the form in hopes of impressing her. But even after that relationship failed, Jerry continued writing poetry, and wrote them almost every day until his eventual death.

Few of Jerry's poems are still available. Original copies of the magazines in which they were published are incredibly rare, and there has not yet been a serious attempt to collect and republish them. This website is attempting to bring some of them back to the reading public, and new poems are published as they are found. Check back often to see more.

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