Featured Poet: John Reinhart
An arsonist by trade, John Reinhart spends his spare time gluing things together. He lives on an urban farmlette in Colorado with his wife and three children.
His inkwell is in the eye socket of a human skull, drawing dandelion explosions, a million little heart attacks at a time; his words collapse on empty leaves blown brown, lifeless, awaiting resurrection, their asthmatic trees crying.
His poems grow between the cracks in his fascination with humanity’s interaction with nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson claimed that the universe is composed of nature and soul, and yet this binary Aristotelianism has always seemed too simplistic to him. “The universe radiates Antonio Machado’s ‘third thing,’ that which rests between living and dreaming: Schrödinger’s cat is neither dead nor alive until we try to feed it mice, name it “Fluffy,” or scratch its belly,” Reinhart claims. If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear it, then the tree never existed, need never to have existed, and need never exist, he goes on to say, for there is no transparent eyeball listening to the universe’s discordant harmonies.
Frugal, he claims to have only ever smoked second hand, preferring the wafting tendrils from bloodstained manuscripts. He eats from garbage bins and even his literary tastes are directed by what he can find in corner Free Libraries, where he first encountered Dan Fante, Abigail Thomas, and a book called Sexual Positions for the Knee Patient. These communal beacons have yielded bouquets of Ursula K. LeGuin, Ron Roy, Paul Goodman, Edward Abbey, Gary Reilly, Jean-Dominique Bauby, and many others.
A Featured Contributor at the Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, Reinhart’s work has been nominated for the Rhysling and Dwarf Stars Awards, won Poetry Nook’s weekly contest seven times. He was recently awarded the Dark Poetry Scholarship from the Horror Writers Association. His poems and short works have been published internationally in print and online.
Finally, even though he didn’t confess to it in his bio, we discovered John is also quite the musician. You’ll want to hear him play fiddle, guitar, vocals, and kazoo on Redeemed by Four Strings, trust us.
Horrific Punctuation is a mini chapbook addressing what many of us realized early in grade school: punctuation is horrific. The intersection of Reinhart’s parallel lives as a high school English teacher and sci-fi poet, this chapbook is part of the Tiger’s Eye Press Infinities series, where each chapbook features eight poems. Featured here are poems about ellipses, commas, the slash, semi-colons, colons, and the period, along with the Rhysling Award nominated Attack of The Saurus.
Reinhart has dedicated the 24 poems in “encircled” to all the people who encircle him, especially his wife and children, and the spark of recognition we share when we shake a stranger’s hand. These narrative poems focus on his family, but also his friends, colleagues, neighbors, and students – the folks who make up his community. The poems range from short and humorous reflections on his daughter using the urinal at the amusement park, to ponderous soul searching about the child who died under suspicious circumstances across the street, the stories of dreams and loss, simple waves and deep connections that make up each of our daily lives.
If you would like to become a Featured Poet please see our submissions page.
before I left town, a friend gave me
a hand sewn scarf and an umbrella,
neither of which I owned,
for both of which I was exceptionally
at 18 I received a watch
from my father, a little too fancy
for me, but some symbol
of responsibility, adulthood,
after only one winter in New England
my father took me shopping
for a new winter coat, in August –
looking for an army-navy surplus
the umbrella lasted less than a year
(I cannot even remember down
what hole it vanished) and the scarf
fell behind in Belgium, a sad
oversight long since replaced,
leaving some Belgian one scarf
16 years later, the watch is long gone,
dropped by a pond between a series
of odd jobs and the promise
of grad school
the coat, still going strong after
16 years, now worn at the cuffs,
carries the warmth of that August
lifetimes ago, hunting coats with