Poetry for Myles and miles

"The book is available at the press's website: www.tebotbach.com. Click 'bookstore' and scroll down to buy the book," says poet Myles Gordon. You can also find it on Amazon and locally at Brookline Booksmith and Cambridge's Grolier Poetry Bookshop. And for deets on Myles' future appearances, keep an eye on www.mylesgordon.com.

Learning to rhyme

"Kathleen Spivack is the best poetry teacher I know locally," says poet Myles Gordon. "Try www.kathleenspivack.com to find out about availability. Both the Cambridge and Boston Center for Adult Education also offer decent poetry workshops. Read a lot of poetry, especially not your own, because that’s where you learn a lot. Write your head off. Poems are like children, and you have to like them, even the misbehaving ones.”

Wham bam poetry slam

"The Grolier Poetry Reading Series (www.grolierpoetrybookshop.org) is always good," says poet Myles Gordon. "The Blacksmith House Reading Series (www.ccae.org/events/blacksmith.html) in Harvard Square is also strong. For a good poetry slam, try the Cantab Lounge, in Central Square, Cambridge, on Wednesday nights (www.cantab-lounge.com)."

Favorite scribes

"Lately I've been reading a lot of Wallace Stevens, Tracy K. Smith, Elizabeth Bishop, Sharon Olds, Frederick Seidel, and Alan Dugan," says poet Myles Gordon. "They are all great and varied poets who have a mastery of the craft and the language, and who are not afraid to be original and honest." 

Book it

"My top books always change," says poet Myles Gordon. "Currently, I keep going back to The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, edited by Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair; Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith; and Poems Seven by Alan Dugan." And as for his go-to place to browse? "The Grolier Poetry Bookshop, in Cambridge, was founded in 1927, and has been the longest-running all-poetry bookstore in the country. It's a cool hole-in-the-wall place — and if they don't have what you want, they can order it. But you haven't checked out poetry in the area until you've gone to the Grolier (www.grolierpoetrybookshop.org)."

The Wordsmith

Don't let Myles Gordon fool you. You may think he's just grocery shopping or paying bills. But he's not. He's also thinking.

He could be thinking about war or injustice. He might be thinking about freedom or beauty. And then, he'll write. He's experienced all of those subjects, some firsthand, some through his parents. The way he processes it all is by transforming it into verse, rhymes, and sonnets. Myles has been many things — a grocery bagger, an Emmy Award-winning TV producer, a school teacher — but first, he is a poet. 


He grew up in Newton, the son of a mother who lost many of her relatives in the Holocaust, of a father who helped liberate the concentration camps as an infantry soldier. When David Gordon returned, he became a sports reporter and a business editor for the Boston Herald. His son followed in his journalistic footsteps, becoming a producer for Chronicle on WCVB-TV for 17 years. But long before, Myles was scribbling poems during classes in high school and on crinkled brown paper as a supermarket bagger. Thinking about life, from the banal to the brutal to the beautiful, has always consumed Myles. 


Now, after winning Patricia Bibby First Book Award, the Helen Kay Chapbook Prize and the Grolier Poetry Prize, Myles has published his first full-length book of poetry. Inside the Splintered Wood is not an easy read, but it explores the challenges in Myles' life and unearths some bigger truths for all of us. In pain or pleasure, as Myles would say, there is poetry.