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Poetry > Poetry for people who "don't like poetry"

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message 1: by John (last edited Aug 22, 2010 09:53AM) (new)

John Hartness | 9 comments My two collections, Returning the Favor and Red Dirt Boy are for people who "don't like poetry." I drink too much, hang out with women of questionable moral character, gamble with money I can't afford to lose, stay up to late and play my music too loud.

When the hangover fades, I write about it.

Returning the Favor is a collection of poetry, short stories and essays. Some are funny, some are poignant, some are lame. But they'll all make you stop and think.

Red Dirt Boy is a collection of poetry from an overeducated redneck. I grew up learning to count by NASCAR driver numbers in the backwoods of South Carolina. I like my beer cold and my women hot. I love Mama, Johnny Cash and guns.

Buy a book, open a six-pack and set a spell. I've won awards for poetry, been translated into 25+ languages for my writing about gambling, and been drunk in places I didn't even know were places.

John G. Hartness Returning the Favor and other slices of life by John G. Hartness

message 2: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 42 comments John,

Can you give us a sample poem -- either here or on your profile? I would love to see one.

message 3: by John (new)

John Hartness | 9 comments Fair enough, here's a sample from Red Dirt Boy. This one is PG-13, but there is a language warning on the book as a whole. Here's the warning - I cuss a lot.

Small Caliber Love

Tequila Sunrise (not her real name)
smoothed an imaginary wrinkle
out of her cerulean alligator-skin miniskirt,
steadied her aim
with the nickel-plated .25 automatic
I gave her for our six-month anniversary
and called me a sonofabitch
one more time.

I had just enough time to contemplate the headlines
“Drunken Poet Murdered by Muse
in No-Tell Motel.”
before Sunny (still not
her real name)
and her allergies
blew a hole
in the Room 438 TV screen.

She jumped,
I dove,
but the poor Zenith
was a goner.

After the tears and hysterical giggles
and phone calls from security
faded into memory,
we brushed the glass off the comforter,
turned on the fan in the bathroom
and screwed like teenagers
on a rollercoaster
until the headboard broke
and spilled us laughing and sweating
onto the floor.

message 4: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 42 comments John,

Thank you. I like this very much. It's accessible, colorful, concise, and it reads well. Love the images you create! What a tempestuous relationship!

Where can I find your writing on gambling?

message 5: by Fiona (new)

Fiona McGier | 69 comments As an English teacher, I have to say I loved this poem! I sure wish teachers were allowed to use this kind of thing in high school, so that the kids, boys especially, would see that there's nothing "sissy" about having a facility with words...unless of course, you actually ARE a sissy, and there's nothing wrong with that either. Viva la difference!

message 6: by John (new)

John Hartness | 9 comments Thanks for the kind words, folks! Sorry I haven't been back in a while, been writing. You can always find more about my writing at my site,, and there are a lot of links there to my gambling writing. Also, I co-host the Gambling Tales Podcast at, and there's plenty there!

message 7: by John (new)

John Hartness | 9 comments Both Returning the Favor and Red Dirt Boy are now available for the Kindle! And if you don't have a kindle, go to my website and win one!

message 8: by Therese (new)

Therese Gilardi | 4 comments John wrote: "My two collections, Returning the Favor and Red Dirt Boy are for people who "don't like poetry." I drink too much, hang out with women of questionable moral character, gamble with money I can't aff..."
you sound like charles bukowski - i love the rawness of his work. like you, my work is not conventional. (ironically some of it will appear in the next issue of onthebus, the magazine founded by bukowski.) good luck with the collection.

message 9: by Christina (new)

Christina (bookbinges) | 3 comments I just published a book of poetry, and I feel like this is the thread for me- poetry for people who 'don't like poetry'... John, would it be okay if I posted a sample poem on here?

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