Richard Katrovas

Essays on Poetry and Poetry Readings

As long as fourteen-year-old boys and girls
Hide poems of love beneath their underwear
And socks, so this dead art will prattle on.
By “dead” I mean arcane beyond mere purpose;
By “purpose” I mean that sometimes even church
Is entertaining to a nonbeliever,
Especially when the homily
Is abstract meditation on free will.
When it enshrines such magical thinking
As children, saints and field commanders feed
Contrary voices in their dreaming heads,
It is poison to the body politic,
But in the sense of chemotherapy.
Yet if I see another idiot mount
A stage and enter the state of tainted grace
That is the dismal ego swamp of love
Of one’s own voice, if I must suffer one
More fool who cannot check his fucking watch
Because his head is too far up his ass
Exploring diadems of earthly wonder,
I shall rise, depart as loudly as I can,
Leaving in my wake a cankerous disdain
For all who swill at the trough of beauty.

Richard Katrovas is the author of fourteen books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, Katrovas’ most recent prose book is Raising Girls in Bohemia: Meditations of an American Father (Three Rooms Press, New York: 2014); his forthcoming poetry collection is Swastika to Lotus (Carnegie Mellon University Press, Pittsburgh: 2016). Katrovas taught for twenty years at the University of New Orleans, and for the past thirteen at Western Michigan University. He is the founding director of the Prague Summer Program for Writers, which is going into its twenty-second year. Visit for more information.