Hearsay is a collection of poems written over the past decade. The literary world has been kind to me, publishing over 30 of the poems in this collection alone. I have been lucky to work with many great poets in that time: Alicia Ostriker and Mark Jarman through WMU's Prague Summer Program, David Lehman through a graduate-level class while attending Miami University my senior year, David Trinidad and Crystal Williams and Joan Larkin and Tony Trigilio through graduate school at Columbia College Chicago, and James Reiss and David Schloss through my undergraduate days at Miami. Furthermore, I've been blessed to have such solid contemporaries as Brian Russell, whose friendship and criticisms kept me afloat.
As important as these writers have been, the last decade has also born a larger family made up of Chicagoans, Miamians, Marylanders, Michiganders, and more. As a kid, living in a trailer and then a falling-down house (since torn down), I never thought my life would be made up of lawyers (so many lawyers), professors (so many academics), classical musicians, and bosses. I know so many people who care about the world and are leaders in making it better that it is incredible. When people read these poems and mention the optimism in the face of such tragedy, it is because of these unnamed family members. As a writer, I have always sought meaning -- fleeting as it is -- through the bond of life. We are lucky to breathe and to be able to reflect upon that breath. This book is a personal accomplishment, yes. One of many more books to come, I believe. I thank my wife, my son, and my extended family for that insight, for that faith.