Trails and Crossings is an audio collection of poems on CD, read by my humble self. This work intersects with my other work in writing poetry and song lyrics, so it is something of a companion to my printed collection of poetry, Thorns on the Rose, and the CD of songs composed by me and recorded by the great W.C. Jameson, In a Large and Lonesome Land.
My son, Dimitri, engineered the recording of this CD. The person who did the cover for In a Large and Lonesome Land, Cheryl Quallenberg of Llano, Texas, designed the cover using a painting by Tom Browning, for which I paid for the rights. The CD came out in February of 2022.
I decided to bring out this CD because some writer friends, including singer-songwriters and fiction writers, encouraged me to do so. I did not presume to be doing anything monumental, but I thought it would be good to give my presentation of some of my poems. In the process of rehearsing for the recordings, I saw that some poems lent themselves to this medium more than other did, which is to say that I changed the list a couple of times and changed the sequence a couple of times. In the end, I thought that this had a uniform quality in content and in delivery.
As for the delivery, I present these poems in the style of a poetry reading (without the poetry reading chatter in between poems). I chose not to present these poems in the style of cowboy poetry, which is more dramatic and emphatic. The literary style is more subtle, and I am prepared for some people not to care for it. One thing I have had to anticipate is that some listeners might not care for this presentation because it is not cowboy poetry, which they are used to, and so I am prepared for people criticizing it for not being what it does not try to be. I received a shade of that attitude in one of the reviews, which did not surprise me.
Some of the poems on this CD are done as songs by the great W.C. Jameson on In a Large and Lonesome Land, and as straight poetry presentations, they pale by comparison. Taken on their own, they give the listener an opportunity to decide how well they do as poems. There are some poems on this CD that could be songs but have not been recorded (yet). There are some that are short, rhymed and unrhymed poems, one of them a sonnet, and there are some blank verse poems, including the longer “Prairie Center,” which won the Western Writers Spur Award for Best Poem in 2019. So there is some variety here, and as I say above, the style might be subtle. I chose to give the collection a subtitle of Western Poetry, because that is what it is, poetry about the American West. I hope some people enjoy some of the poems.
Trails and Crossings is available for streaming on all major music platforms and is available for purchase at Amazon.