I would say that the first instance I remember when POETRY got on board my life's ship was in a park in Roseburg, Oregon in the year 1971 when I was 22 years old. I was just married two years before and was spending my days in a park . . . and my nights as a bass player for a band in a club in Roseburg [as I attempt to recall]. My wife and home residence at the time was in Toledo, Oregon. So, periodically I would head to a phone booth by the edge of the park and, there, talk to my Precious Wife and eagerly wait until my music gig was over. I had to sleep in my car because the gig didn't pay enough to warrant [or afford] a hotel room. Anyway, it was in that phone booth where I heard for the first time that I was going to be a father. It was a profound feeling and drove me to the point of need of some type of expression as to how I felt. So, soon thereafter I penned my first words of poetry.
I will say that I had the privilege and honor to have a genius for a teacher of English in my high school; the teacher's name was Bob Whited. His classes were a rare scene of complete and utter captivation of interest and amazement at what the subject of English could be. He literally has affected my life since those days in his class. He could present any topic in a way that I wanted to learn, and I didn't realize at the time---being so young and unaware about life and things---what a rare privilege and honor it was to have such a man as a teacher. He was a TOTALLY STRICT disciplinarian and had complete and utter control of his classroom at all times. Every student was attentive and of concentration, because you had no other choice. He would eat you alive were you to even think to interrupt his class by talking to your neighbor or whatever. But, I loved that about his methodology . . . I wanted to learn in his class, I wanted to be without distraction and so it could be the just-pure undisturbed acquisition of knowledge. I remember that we [our row] was able to conjugate the six tenths of the verb to be in just 9.4 seconds. I know that most of you readers won't even know what that means (since they don't teach grammar any longer in school), but, it [grammar] is something in which I became quite expert; and, my first English professor told me that I could probably teach his class (and I was just a freshman in college).
So, anyway, I mention Bob Whited because he basically introduced me to the art [and love] of poetry . . . as we read and studied the poems of Sarah Teasdale, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edgar Alan Poe and others during my Junior and Senior years of high school.
And here I will end my entry for this day (1/4/2018).