Photo by Terry M. Sharp
What does a poet write about? What can a poet write about that will not become stale or repetitive? My answer to these questions is “anything the poet likes, but not the same thing in book after book.” Many of these books began as a list provided by someone else. The first of such books were modeled on other poets’ work. Later, I wrote about things that interested me listed in encyclopedias. Always, I tried to find something to learn about as well as an interesting way to think about it, and an interesting way to present it.
Recently, I have written a Java program, MRadio, to play multiple simultaneous internet radio streams.
- The book of science. I started writing this in 1997. Each week since 31 May 2011, I have added a new set of poetry and commentary reflecting on a milestone of the history of science.
- Elements of science. On 4 March 2017, I added 111 milestones to The book of science to complete coverage of the 118 chemical elements.
- Elements of elements of science is a subset of The elements of science consisting of the last poem for each element.
- The booklet of science is a subset of The book of science consisting of the last poem for each milestone (skipping the elements).
- extinct animals, 2020. Poems about extinct animals. We are hastening our own extinction as well as the extinction of many other species by destroying habitats and altering Earth’s climate. It is sobering to realize how much we have lost, the variety, the intricacy, and the beauty of life.
- Comics, 2020. Poems about classic comic strips.
- Cabinet of curiosities, 2020. Poems about curious objects.
- SciFi, 2020. Poems about the effects of technology on culture.
- Images, 2019, 2020. Poems about things that mean something else.
- Foibles, Faults, and Fallacies, 2019. Poems about cognitive biases.
- Things People Do, 2019. Poems about screaming, laughing, yawning, blushing, crying, muttering, cheering, and smiling.
- The book of beliefs, 2019. Strange and kooky beliefs: conspiracy theories, aliens, UFOs, crop circles, cryptids, the undead, folk creatures, witchcraft, geomancy, the paranormal, miracle cures, and other hoaxes.
- Poems by Tom, 2017. Poems about poetry—reading poetry and teaching poetry—with videos of me reading each poem, and music by Elizabeth Douthitt Sharp.
- First Nations, 2016-2017. Native American themes, starting with the Fish Wars of Puget Sound.
- Lyrics, 2013-2017. Lyrics and music, mostly just for fun.
- travels, 2013-2016. Poems, mainly haiku, written on our trips to Peru, London, France, and Cuba, accompanied by photographs from the trips.
- immortals of taoist mythology, 2012. I wrote these eight poems in 1985. The illustrations are paper and fabric depictions of the eight immortals distributed by the Schering Corporation to promote Meticorten.
- A Life’s Work, 2012. Three sets of poems on grief, love, ducks and other things.
- Monday Poems, 2012. 15 poems written mainly on the bus to work on consecutive Mondays in 2009.
- Hans and the Clock, 2011. A novella in sixteen chapters concerning lives, contraptions, and unidentified flying objects. This work is password protected; please email for the password if you would like to read it.
- The I Ching, or Book of Changes, 2003. 54 poems. I tossed coins and took my inspiration from the translation of the I Ching by Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes, with the foreword by C. G. Jung.
- The Great Ideas: Reflections on the History of Western Thought, 2003. 102 poems based on the The Great Ideas, A Lexicon of Western Thought, by Mortimer J. Adler.
- The Acts of Matthew and Andrew in the City of Cannibals, 2000, a translation from Old English of “The Legend of St. Andrew.”
A Sampler of Poems and Prose, 1997, Taurean
Horn Press, ISBN 0-931552-10-9. This book selects poems and
prose written beginning in 1972 from seven books that I had
- Balancing of Grinding Wheels
- Synopsis of the Signal Systems
- Ezra’s Book
- Important Beater Instructions
- Hans Hans
- One Hundred and One Famous Poems
- The Complete Hans Hans, 1997. Adds to the earlier cycle the beginning of an aborted novel, Hans Visits the Soda Fountain, and more recent pieces collected as “Real Life’s Thoughts.”
- One Hundred and One Famous Poems (Totally Rewritten), 1995. Actually, 111 poems and 4 essays. Online, each poem is linked to a page that contains the original poem that you can hear read by Clifford Schwartz.
- Personae, 1989. I modelled this on the works of William Carlos Williams (Charles Tomlinson’s selections from Spring & All), Robert Creeley (the first part of Memory Gardens), Jack Spicer (A Red Wheelbarrow), and Larry Eigner (selections in Room 3).
- Hans Hans, 1988. The early cycle of short prose pieces featuring Hans—“Hans Goes to the Zoo,” “Hans Finds a Friend,” “Hans Gets a Job,” and “Hans Falls in Love.” These pieces follow a form that David Bromige used in Tight Corners & What’s Around Them (Black Sparrow Press, 1974). Hans entered history after graduation day in June 1973 when David Bromige and I met in a coffee shop in Rohnert Park and invented a form to suit Faceless Fussduck, detective. The form was ﬁrst a set up, followed by anything that was logically consistent but that broke expectations: “Faceless Fussduck slowly raised his cold revolver. The closet was dark.” This discovery led to humor and new poetics, to experiments with logic, character, and plot.
- By Day & Night, 1985. I composed this series of 57 short poems from notes that I had taken on trains to Chicago, New York, Austin, and San Diego while enjoying a one-month Amtrack rail pass.
- Important Beater Instructions, 1985. This book collects poems that I read with Bill Vartnaw in Sonoma County on 5 August 1985.
- “Objectivists” 1927-1934: A critical history of the work and association of Louis Zukofsky, William Carlos Williams, Charles Reznikoff, Carl Rakosi, Ezra Pound, and George Oppen, Stanford University, 1982, updated 2015. My PhD dissertation.
- Ezra’s Book, after “Hilda’s Book” by Ezra Pound, 1980. With this book I began the practice of basing each poem on a piece by another writer, and of writing books, not individual poems.
- Synopsis of the Signal Systems, 1979. This was also a cutout—based on the pamphlet published by the U.S. Marine Corp on Morse code and semphore. I considered this to be “Part Two of Absences and Presences” of Spectacles.
- Balancing of Grinding Wheels, 1979. I took a pamphlet published by the Norton Company, cut out the text, leaving the illustrations, and pasted “some early love poems” where the text had been. Originally, I considered this small book to be part one of an unpublished book that I planned to title Spectacles.
- The Problems, April 1972. A single poem on twelve-sheet mimeograph published by the Rhymers’ Club at Sonoma State College.
- Not Lost, including poems and short stories that are not included in other books, particularly my early work going back to the age of 17.