“V E R S U S” ~ 2009, which is an experimental book of my poems & work. Comprised of older re-invented poetic forms & poetry prose pieces based on The Song Of Solomon, Surrealism, Dreams, Tarot & even some old norse and ancient egyptian forms.
Poems By R.M. Engelhardt 2010
They indeed were comrades of the gods,
Possessed of Truth, the poets of old:
The fathers found the hidden light
And with true prayer brought forth the dawn.
Albany, NY based poet, writer R.M. Engelhardt has published several books over the last decade including Nod~Logos~Alchemy~The Last Cigarette: The Collected Poems of R.M. Engelhardt & others. His current experimental book of poetry & prose is called “Versus” A poet & writer, Engelhardt through his ideas & visions has helped to create a large amount of the Upstate, Albany, NY spoken word~poetry scene and is the host of “VoX” an Open Mic For Poets held @ The Fuze Box on every last Friday evening of each month. Thru his efforts along with such writers as Thom Francis he has created such groups the Albany Poetry Syndicate as well as Albany Poets (Now http://www.AlbanyPoets.com), which have left a lasting mark on the upstate NY literary scene. His work has also been published by many journals both in print including Retort, Verve, Industrial Nation, Sure! The Charles Bukowski Newsletter, Thunder Sandwich, The Angry Poet, Full of Crow & many others.
R.M. ENGELHARDT, THE RESURRECTION WALTZ
Engelhardt Publishes His Collected Poems
MICHAEL ECK Special to the Times UnionSection: Arts-Events, Page: H1
Date: Sunday, October 29, 2006
R.M. Engelhardt wears black sunglasses in the shade. He chain-smokes Djarums until his head is wreathed in a clove-scented cloud. And, in the middle of the day, he sucks down coffee like a trucker on a midnight run.
Engelhardt, in case you haven’t already figured it out, is a poet. But he doesn’t just walk the role, he talks it, too. In fact, he’s been speaking his poetic mind in public for more than a decade, at least on occasion as the host the long-running Vox and School of Night readings series, both of which he founded, fostered and produced at local nightclubs. Engelhardt, 42, is one of the leading lights of the Albany poetry scene, and he is finally, rightfully, celebrating himself with the publication of “The Last Cigarette: The New & Collected Poems of R.M. Engelhardt” on his own Dead Man’s Press.
He calls the work, which includes selections previously published in journals, online magazines and in his own chapbooks, “a handbook of my life.”
Q: Why do you write poetry?
A: Why do people breathe? Why do people make music?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I wrote a Greek myth when I was 12 years old. We were studying Greek myths and my sixth-grade teacher freaked out. That was my first clue it was like, hmmm, I did something interesting.
When I was about 15 years old, I was a Doors fan. I liked Jim Morrison and all that. Then I read (Danny Sugerman’s Morrison biography) “No One Here Gets Out Alive” and he made references to Blake and Rimbaud and other poets. Of course, being an introverted, quiet kid, in junior high, with glasses, the whole thing, I spent my time in the library, in the corner, reading all those books.
I started writing a lot at that time. It’s just a part of life. It’s who I am.
Q: Your work has been published and you’ve performed it as well, which do you prefer, the page or the stage?
A: Actually, I’m more partial to the page. I’ve written more than just poetry. I’ve written prose pieces and things like that, which are also in the book. I like the craft of writing itself.
I do enjoy performing, but I find lately that I’m staying in more and writing, rather than going out all the time. It’s kind of crucial that you have a place where you can share your work with other people and perform your stuff and get feedback on it, but as I’m getting older I see that the form and the style in the clubs is changing, with poetry slams and poetry battles.
I’m old-school, and my style is different from what’s coming out now. You won’t see me doing any slams in the future. I’ve done them before, but it’s not for me.
Q: Why Albany?
A: I’m a sixth-generation Albanian. That’s one reason. My family’s been here since 1890.
Albany is where I grew up. It’s a part of me. A lot of people I know have died here. Their memories are here. It’s my city. It’s my town. Albany is it. I’ll probably live here the rest of my life.
Since I was a kid, Poe has been one of those influences that’s been inescapable. His work, his stories, they’re phenomenal. He had an imagination like you wouldn’t believe. At the same time I wouldn’t want to end up in his shoes. He died alone, and nobody wants to die alone.
Q: What do words mean to you?
A: Words are powerful. Words make a difference. They can create and destroy. They can open doors and close doors. Words can create illusion or magic, love or destruction. … All those things.
Michael Eck, a freelance writer from Albany, is a frequent contributor to the Times Union.
The Last Cigarette:
The Collected Poems
Of R.M. Engelhardt
These are the earlier collected works of Albany, NY based poet, writer & author R.M. Engelhardt who has published several books over the last two decades. Engelhardt through his ideas & visions has helped to create a large amount of the Upstate, Albany, NY spoken word~poetry scene and is the host of The Saint Poem Reading Series. Through his efforts he has created such groups the Albany Poetry Syndicate as well as Albany Poets (www.AlbanyPoets.com), which have left a lasting mark on the upstate NY literary scene. His work has also been published by many journals both in print & on the net including Retort, Verve, Fashion For Collapse, Sure! The Charles Bukowski Newsletter, Copious Amounts, Thunder Sandwich, The Angry Poet, 2nd Avenue Poetry, Full of Crow & in many others.
Smashwords is an ebook publishing and distribution platform for ebook authors, publishers and readers. We offer multi-format, DRM-free ebooks, ready for immediate sampling and purchase, and readable on any e-reading device.
For readers, Smashwords provides an opportunity to discover new voices in all categories and genres of the written word. Once you register, the site offers useful tools for search, discovery and personal library-building, and each week we add new features based on feedback from members.
At Smashwords, our authors and publishers have complete control over the sampling, pricing and marketing of their written works.
Smashwords is ideal for publishing novels, short fiction, poetry, personal memoirs, monographs, non-fiction, research reports, essays, or other written forms that haven’t even been invented yet.
It’s free to publish and distribute with Smashwords.
I want to thank all of you who have welcomed me onto Tumblr with my new blog. It’s great to find a place where your poems…work is thoroughly appreciated and where what you have to contribute & say matters. Second? A few people have already asked me where they can find, purchase my books and that place would be on Scribd. Thank you all again for your friendship & support and I look forward to meeting & making more friends on here in the future.
Friday, June 25th, 2010~
Reviewed By Lynn Alexander * Full Of Crow
“Versus”, R.M. Engelhardt
Past their limits
R.M. Engelhardt acknowledges that there is a difference between the passive participant and those who live a passion-driven life, but can often be seen in “Versus” wondering if there is a difference in the end. Passion clearly perpetuates the creative imperative, manifest in poets like Engelhardt as non-negotiable, but to what end? There comes a time in the life of the poet where this question has to be dealt with. It is one thing to accept the terms of “the muse”. It is another to toil in the direction of some outcome, some goal. What, beyond that yielding and succumbing, is the poet desirous of? Fame, significance, appreciation, relevance?
The poet succumbs because he or she must, but it doesn’t end there. The poet is driven to more just as the living are driven to interact in this world beyond survival. We do more than eat and breed and sleep, there is something that pushes us. But why?
In the years that I have been aware of Engelhardt’s work, it is this willingness to examine these concerns head on and in a surprisingly candid manner that I think captures my interest the most in his work, which often gets into the problematic terrain of ego, and the ways that we relate to one another through not only our life’s work but through love and community. He states rather directly in “Versus” that poetry is dead, he comments on the state of popular culture and asks the obvious questions about the poet’s role in it. Why bother, and why persist?
Persistence, I think, is the theme in Engelhardt’s work that prompts people to characterize him as “romantic” as many of the poems convey a sense of pining, portraying people desirous not only of love but of transcendent relationships. “She believes in something unseen”, (8, “Perhaps”) “I’m just sick of passing romances”. (“In Cleopatra’s Eyes”, 9)
In ‘Versus”, we see that relationship between the speakers and both issues: wanting to do more than write, wanting to do have more than a date on a Saturday night. (“toys”, 6, “More than just another dance”, 2) This idea of wanting more, wanting to believe in and have faith in that but at the same time considering one’s observations and wanting to be rational.
Persistence then is challenged by cynicism, both inner and external:
“The time for poets has passed”
“And someone once told me that honest people don’t exist anymore in the 21st century”
“And someone once told me ‘That love…is dead.”
Do we persist, press on anyway? In “Naïve”, Engelhardt describes the urge to avoid the trainwreck. In “Truth” we see people opening boxes, digging through metaphorical “boxes” of expectations mingled with mythology. What happens when people confront truth? Some thrive, some perish, some vanish immediately in the sight of their realizations. This brings us back, again and again, to the questions in “Versus”. What are we after? And can we get there?
‘We all grow older/Still trying to find our way/Like children” (“Any Day Now”, 11)
Many poets grapple with a maturing phase not unlike the point around mid-life when one begins to really take stock about where to put energy, what to be concerned with and what to let go of. Some describe it much like finding their way, having gone through what some describe as a period similar to the honeymoon phase of a relationship. There are burdens in the poet’s world, choices about resources and time and energy and in the beginning there can be a sense of eventual payoff that in later years we learn can be quite elusive. There’s no denying that Engelhardt has love for the craft, but he pushes us to consider what that means, and to perhaps distinguish between the love of writing and the expectations. In some instances, the object of love can be easily interchangeable with “the muse” as both are subjects in these poems of that transcendent longing. The love that leaves for the man who promises everything, the “angel” who vanishes, the losses are connected: the poet wants to believe in more, wants to have faith in more, but life can be a series of losses, followed by grief.
Engelhardt closes “Versus” with a shout-out to those who persist, who don’t give up, who keep searching and don’t give in, who stay true to the realm of dreams.