About

About the Website

Over the years, I have accumulated a significant collection of poems and essays. I often receive requests for copies, copies to republish, etc. I have created this website to facilitate such sharing and in lieu of publishing books of poems and essays. Although I love books, I have come to feel that using the format of a book – even an e-book – is a very limiting way of sharing one's writings. Locking them away in a professional journal is even worse. Putting them up on a website for free distribution is the least limiting way I have discovered. As Cory Doctorow, paraphrasing Tim O'Reilly, often says, my problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity.

About the Creative Commons License

Everything you find on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.  This means you are free to redistribute, republish, link to, or otherwise share it without asking my permission under the conditions that you (1) attribute the work to me using my name and the phrase "This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License."; (2) share it for free, neither charging money for it nor including it in books, newsletters, websites, etc., which are not distributed for free; (3) that you not change it in any way. If you wish to redistribute or republish any of my work under any other terms, you must contact me directly for permission.

About the Author

jrs reading 1_2I've always loved poetry and wrote poems for the first time in adolescence (didn't we all?). I didn't begin again until my late 30s; the oldest poems here date from that time, although most of the work from that era I now consider not worth sharing.  My poetic sensibilities, such as they are, have been shaped by my reading of Wordsworth, Whitman, Gary Snyder, Robert Bly, Wendell Berry, Jayne Hirshfield, and, above all, William Stafford. These days, the work of Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, and Billy Collins provides inspiration and occasion for humility.

Robert Bly and William Stafford have a special place in my pantheon, because it was they who were most responsible for my beginning to write again. I met both of them in the late 1980s while I was living in Seattle. My soul was dying in a computer science PhD program, and hearing these two very different men read and talk about poetry and life reconnected me with parts of myself that had been orphaned. Stafford's two books on writing, Writing the Australian Crawl and You Must Revise Your Life continue to be my favorites in that genre, and I have often had occasion to take his antidote for writer's block: lower your standards and keep writing! (I've tried not to include any of those poems here.)

In 2002, as a kind of therapy for what I felt was the wordiness and lack of focus in what I was writing, I took a "vow of verbal poverty", determined to write no more long poems until I had made significant progress in mastering the austere haiku form. This turned out to be a 10 year love affair with haiku and related Japanese forms, and quite a number of my haiku were published in various venues, including translations into Japanese, French, German, and Romanian. I also served as coeditor (with Gary Gach) of the Young People's Section of the World Haiku Review. Since 2012, I have returned to writing mostly longer poems, many of them about what the Chinese masters called "the Great Matter of Birth and Death" and coming in one way or another out of my experience of terminal illness and my Zen way of life.

From the very beginning of my career in Montessori education, my Montessori mentor Donna Bryant Goertz, herself a writer, encouraged me to write – a great gift for which I will always be grateful. Much of what I have written about Montessori was originally intended for parents and teachers at Austin Montessori School but eventually found its way to a larger audience. In 2007, Dennis Schapiro offered me a regular column in his Public School Montessorian publication, and since then Dennis's deadlines have provided the impetus I needed to write regularly. Most of the Montessori articles here were originally written for Dennis, and others are based on NAMTA conference keynotes and workshops. My most popular articles – what I call "the trust series" – came from a day of lectures I prepared for AMI elementary trainer Dr. Jean Miller's training course.

I currently live in Austin, Texas. I retired as a Montessori school administrator in 2013, due to increasing disability from ALS. Other professional hats I have worn include Montessori elementary teacher, management consultant specializing in Organizational Learning, technical program manager in the Bell System, computer science and software engineering instructor at the University of Washington Extension and University of Kansas, software engineering consultant, and public radio DJ. I also have degrees in music and philosophy, but, not being a great fan of Don Quixote, I've not tried to make a living from them. I believe my music studies helped train my ear for the sounds of words, and my philosophy studies taught me how to write.
Please feel free to contact me with comments about anything you find here. You are invited to link to me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/johnrobertsnyder/ .
Follow me on Twitter: jrs1231