Art Beat: A Poet's Feast And Famine

Nov 14, 2019

Tim Hawkins' new poetry collections
Credit Tim Hawkins

He calls it a famine. Seven years have gone by since Tim Hawkins’ first book, Wanderings at Deadline (Aldrich Press, 2012), was published. But this year, famine has turned to feast. Two more of Hawkins’ poetry collections— Jeremiad Johnson (ICOE Press, 2019) and Synchronized Swimmers (KYSO Flash Press, 2019) — have made it to the bookshelf. And he’s just announced that a fourth book is on its way.


“You feel almost silly or guilty when you have two books coming out in a span of a couple months,” says Hawkins. “But I’m not going to feel too guilty. One of them I shopped around and it was rejected 50 or 60 times, so I’ll accept the feast part of this.”

Hawkins says that's all too typical in the publishing world, even as an interest in poetry seems to be on an increase.

“I live in Grand Rapids and I’ve seen the growth there in terms of venues and interest,” he says. “I had the good fortune to read with some Kalamazoo poets back in April, and I was astounded by a room full of some 50 or 60 people who turned out.”

Tim Hawkins

Hawkins describes his collection Jeremiad Johnson as a collection of work he has written over the last decade.

“It’s sort of crystallized into its present form as a reaction to some of the uncertainties and turmoil of the last few years facing our nation,” Hawkins says. “I chose Jeremiad as a narrator on that.”

Hawkins says his other collection of poems and short prose, Synchronized Swimmers, “arose more organically, a combination of the exotic and the familiar, memory juxtaposed with the present.”

Tim Hawkins has lived and traveled widely throughout North America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He's worked as a journalist, technical writer, communications manager, and teacher in international schools. His career also has taken some interesting detours into jobs tending a "slime table" in a salmon cannery, as a model for a nose-hair clipper, and as a cram school teacher.

Hawkins has been nominated for Best of the Net (2018), the Pushcart Prize (2011, 2017), and Best Microfiction (2018), and was chosen to serve as preliminary judge for the 47th Annual Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition (2015).

Tim Hawkins will read from his new books at Michigan News Agency in downtown Kalamazoo on Wednesday, December 11, at 6 p.m.

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