Shane Blackman’s great-grandmother, Mary, was born in Ireland, and with much courage, she traveled by ship to the United States, alone, as a teenager, just months after her two best friends perished when the Titanic sank. Mary spoke and read Irish. Shane received a B.A. in History and Literature from Wabash College and an M.A. in History from Indiana University. At Wabash, Shane won the Walter Fertig Prize for Excellence in Writing. He has been Lecturer in History at Indiana University, Research Fellow at Princeton University, and taught Creative Writing in Arizona’s high schools. Shane’s poems have appeared in The Mythic Circle and The Galway Review.

A Biography of James Joyce

All I knew about idea books was they kept
My mind alive in a world on the mend.
Sometimes I had been frayed and torn by those
Who failed to show charity, gentleness,
Kindness, and other fruits of the Spirit.
I took the path of intellectuals,
Who, with point-blank thought-ways, scaled horizons
And exposed fact and fiction about the
Nature of things, the nature of humans.
At a bookshop in Florida a kind
Store clerk named Saoirse gave me a bio
Of James Joyce, the Dubliner whose honest
Letters & journals finished the portrait.
All I know is that fellow said it straight.

Ode to the Authentic

Actresses and actors don’t present roles
To play on screen or on stage: it is not
An act, but a feature pic pulled off well
By those who are authentic in real life.
From Arkansas to Kansas, North to South,
Coast to coast, & in towns like Limerick,
June and Johnny put it all on the line.
The duo left a print on the heartlands.
If the couple met the two for dinner
At the sage homestead, it was cool sailing:
“Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” opened the gig,
Rolling cameras for Reese and Joaquin.
Art is life, fealty says, and vice versa.
Truths were reckoned in Hollywood city.

Memories of Juliann

I strolled on the bluegrass of Kentucky,
Watching all the pretty horses roam in
Huge, fenced-in areas, where buckets and
Bowls of water fed thirsty, glowing hearts.
I ventured north to Illinois to hear the
Voice of Alison Krauss and her folk band,
Who granted peace and recall when I gleaned
The sound of melody and mandolin.
“You say it best when you say nothing at all,”
Went the psalm. That brought back clear memories
Of Juliann, whose green-blue eyes spoke soft,
Of times she and I rode champagne Quarter Horses
In the quiet outdoors, through hills and plains.
We wrote music & we played guitars too.

NOTE: Author’s Letter…