Third person narratives are somewhat pretentious, I think, at least for we poets who are still living. If I would start this by claiming " John Allen Richter" was this or did that or the other - then I would feel a little silly. As Abraham Lincoln once exclaimed after viewing a photo of himself - 'So here is the creature itself! ' And so too, here am I before you - no mystique, no mystery, no great intrigue as might be conjured by a narrative from someone else. I am he, John, the simple man who has been given an insatiable desire - sporadically - to sit and write things down. You will either like them or not. But I hope that you will.
I was born in a small Indiana city of about 40,000 souls called Richmond in the late 1950s. My father was Frederick Richter - (as is my youngest son) - and my mother was Valerie - a beautiful aussie from Melbourne. Dad was stationed there during WWII and once told me that he won her in a game of cards. I always thought he was bluffing. I rarely felt he deserved the winnings of that card game. I have also been blessed with five beautiful sisters and one very admirable brother.
At 17 years and one week old I joined the United States Army. While growing up we all watched the Viet Nam war on television every night - good old Walter Cronkite and the news. There was no way that I would miss it. Unfortunately it was too late. They had already pulled our soldiers out before I enlisted. So I went to Germany for three years and found the best beer and women that I've ever tasted. And in that order.
I was married twice - once to a friend - Tawnya Jester - a match which resulted in our son James Cody. And a second time to Betsy Scott - resulting in another son - afore mentioned Fred - and daughters Sarah and Chelsea. I divorced in 2012 and am happily entanglement free at the moment.
Now for the meat and potatoes. Poetry. I write poetry because I have no choice. It wells up within me and simply must come out - as well as any other bodily function or pus-filled pimple. Poetry is just a little less messy. Edgar Allen Poe said that 'With me poetry has not been a purpose, but rather a passion.' I feel exactly the same.
I don't think my poetry is very good. I read other's poetry often - and find myself sometimes comparing it with my own. I rarely win those comparisons.
I've been writing poetry as long as I can remember. And by that I mean my earliest memories at 3 or 4 years of age. My mother used to write it down for me because at four years of age I was illiterate. She once showed some of them to my father, which quickly initiated an eye-roll. My mother always beamed about them though, as mothers will do, I suppose.
My poetry was pretty well hidden until grade 6, when a teacher - named Pamela Smith Snyder - encouraged me to pursue my writing. She introduced me to Emily Dickinson - who soon after became my soul-mate.
I'd like to thank you for visiting my page and hope that your brief stay was pleasant. And as always I will encourage you, and everyone, to be someone else's Pamela Smith Snyder.