We asked him to please read us something, read us a poem, and because he is a gentleman, he complied. I have always loved the way he strings words together, but it was the cool, calm nature of his voice that struck me as he read. There is a depth to it, a kind of sadness wrapped up with hope. The room fell silent. I think we were all holding our breath. Or perhaps he took our breath from us, the way only wonderful writing can.
There are poets who walk among us, not nearly as known as they should be. They write things that make us stop, make us think, make us say, “Yes, me too.” John Blase is one of these poets.
There’s a funny line from the television show Friends, where Phoebe is watching a fellow musician. She says, “Oh, my God, he’s not even appreciated in his own time. I would give anything not to be appreciated in my own time.”
Well, I appreciate John in his own time, and I know many of you do, too. If you haven’t read any of his work, I’d suggest you pick up his beautiful book, The Jubilee: Poems. Here is a video of him reading one of his poems.