Friday, April 26, 2013

Welcome Guest Author - Poet Barri Bryan

Barri Bryan 

      STEPH:    How long have you been writing poetry?

BARRI: I began putting rhymes together when I was in the second grade. I have always loved poetry. When I was not yet three-years-old, my little brother had a baby powder can with nursery rhymes on it. My mother read them to me over and over again. I never tired of hearing them. 

STEPH: Are there any distinct themes to your poetry?

BARRI: Most of the time yes, occasionally, no. The theme of Chapter and Verse is love. Brush Country was inspired by the sights and scenes of the Brush Country of South Central Texas. Four Part Harmony has four separate and distinct themes within one book. What Will Suffice is an eclectic collection of many themes.

STEPH:     What forms/types of poetry do you prefer to write?

My style of writing does not lends itself to free verse. I write mostly in couplets or quatrains.  I write poetry as some individuals play the piano, by ear. The contents of the poem dictates the form, or forms. I often mix forms in a poem.  Occasionally I attempt an English sonnet. I love haikus, but I seldom attempt writing one. On the surface they seem simple, but they are extremely difficult. I have never attempted the villianelle form, but I love its strength and intensity. I think Sylvia Plath uses this form superbly. So does Elizabeth Bishop.

STEPH:    Who is your favorite poet?

BARRI: That's like asking who my favorite child is. I love Christina Rossetti's poetry. I delight in reading John Donne. I like Wallace Stevens and Algernon Charles Swinburne. I enjoy Emily Dickenson, Coventry Patmore, and Ted Hughes…

STEPH: What is your favorite poem?

BARRI: That, once more, is a difficult question to answer. If I absolutely had to select one poem, I would choose John Wilmot's Love and Life. He captures in three short verses the inability to change the past, the brevity of the moment, and the uncertainty of all tomorrows.

STEPH: Barri, can you share one of your poems with us?

BARRI: This poem is from my latest poetry book titled Four Part Harmony. It's from section two titled, Highway 35 South.


Between McHarvey’s Auction Barn
And the cut-off to New Algiers
Lies a stretch of fallow farmland
That hasn’t been planted in years.

 In summer a blazing, blistering sun
Turns its crop of weeds to brown.
Once a strike of August lightening
Set a fire that burned to the edge of town.

In autumn it’s a tangled maze
Of undergrowth and stubble.
As now-and-then a brave green sprout
Rises from the decaying rubble.

In winter frost cuts to the ground
Every green and growing thing,
Leaving death and desolation,
Until one day in early spring

New life nudges through the sod
And changes the dismal scene
From gray and bleak and dreary
To a hopeful new-born green.

Oh the wonder, oh, the magic
As slowly from death and confusion
Wild flowers bloom and blossom
In grand and glorious profusion.

Oh beauty, for all your brevity
I see in your short-lived perfection
How brief is life, how sure is death
How splendid the hope of resurrection.

This poem is from Brush Country.


In the east a blazing ball of fire
Climbs ever steadily higher and higher.
Overhead, a jet plane soaring high
Cuts a vapor incision across the sky.

Up and down the awakening street
Dance limpid waves of shimmering heat.
Stench of garbage, smell of gas    
Mix with the scent of fresh-cut grass. 

The humid air is sweltering.
Catholic Church bells begin to ring
Above the din of an auto horn;
Small Town Texas Sunday morn.

Love and Life

By John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

All my past life is mine no more,
The flying hours are gone,
Like transitory dreams giv'n o'er,
Whose images are kept in store
By memory alone.

The time that is to come is not;
How can it then be mine?
The present moment's all my lot;
And that, as fast as it is got,
Phyllis, is only thine.

Then talk not of inconstancy,
False hearts, and broken vows;
If I, by miracle, can be
This live-long minute true to thee,
'Tis all that Heav'n allows.


You can find a link to buy Four Part Harmony at my website

You can find a link to buy Brush Country at my website

Or go to





  1. Steph,
    Thank you for inviting me to be your guest today.I enjoyed being here.

  2. I always so feel the change of seasons - you
    did a wonderful job of putting it into words. Thank you for the experience.

  3. Barri,
    Thanks so much for joining us today! Sorry I popped in late. Sigh... I loved reading your poetry. It's easy to visualize and stirs the heartstrings. Scenery and Seasons really spoke to my heart - I love nature - it's invigorating and I find nature poetry is the same. I love how you take us through the seasons, how they play on nature and offer hope in the poem.