Meet Gary V. Powell

Gary has been widely published including literary journals the Thomas Wolfe Review, Carvezine, Fiction Southeast, Atticus Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Best New Writing 2015, and Pisgah Review.

I first met and heard Gary read at open mics in Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC. With Gary’s permission, I’m sharing Crowder Peas because it mirrors Mike’s poem yesterday of where inspiration comes from. In this poem, Gary shows us all the minute details a poet notices on a simple walk through the neighborhood.

His poems can also be edgy and raw, forcing us to look at things that are sometimes uncomfortable to see. But that’s what great poets do – they open our eyes. (Titles are bolded).

So here’s Gary!

1.      Do you remember the very first poem you wrote? How old were you? What was the topic?

I wrote my first poem while a freshman or sophomore in high school. I’d written many stories before that and plays that my classmates and I acted out, but I was 15 or 16 when I wrote my first poem. I grew up in a gritty, industrial town and didn’t know anyone who read poetry much less wrote it. But I had a musician friend, a pianist and organist, who played in a rock band with some older guys. They realized that if they had any hope of getting a recording contract, they needed original licks and lyrics. My friend and I collaborated on several songs, none of which landed the band a recording contract, but writing the lyrics for those songs encouraged me to attempt poetry. I’m pretty sure the first real poem I wrote was entitled “That Winter,” which, as I recall, consisted of a series of images attempting to reflect the harsh northern Indiana winter of 1966 or 1967. I was so afraid someone would discover I’d written poetry that I stashed that poem, along with others written during that time, in a manila folder in the back of my closet. To further protect myself from discovery, I wrote under the pseudonym of “Anton,” because it sounded foreign and mysterious.

2.      If you could lift a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with any poet, living or deceased, whom would it be?

Although he’s better known as a short story writer than a poet, notwithstanding the fact he published several books of poetry, I’d much enjoy a drink with Ray Carver. He’d probably drink vodka or gin from a gallon jug, but I’d be content with a bottle of wine. I’d select Ray because I’ve long felt a close connection to him both personally and professionally. We were both born in a rural south from which our families relocated to find work. We both grew up in blue-collar towns around rough-cut characters. Neither of us received encouragement early on to pursue our interest in writing. And both of us struggled to write while earning a living and raising families. In the end, both of us found a path, though not necessarily a recommended path. I’d enjoy talking with Ray, not so much about the work, as about the challenges faced in finding the time and space to create the work. One of my most treasured possessions is a first edition of Ray’s short story collection Cathedral. He signed it for me at a reading I attended about a year before his death. In his uneasy scrawl, he wished me luck in my own writing.

Crowder Peas

Remembered picking crowder peas

for the first time in years.

Dreamed about a girl I hadn’t seen

since her father passed away.

Was reminded by a lilac’s scent

of a garden I once tilled.

All this, walking down a street

I hardly know, surrounded by

people whose acquaintance

I’ll likely never make.

Saw in a spider’s web the doilies

my grandma would crochet.

Heard in a dog’s plaintive bark

the Husky on my father’s farm.

Remembered picking crowder peas

for the first time in years.

Our Thoughts and Prayers

This is the bullet

inscribed with your name

and the cartridge box

where it resides



and ninety-nine


This is a two-twenty-three

Remington round

designed with

brass casing,

boxer priming,


and full metal jacket,

for accuracy

and range.

At fifty-five grain,

this bullet is light

but powerful

with a muzzle velocity

of three thousand

feet per second

and energy measured

at twelve hundred


This is an AR-15,

chambered and hungry,

a rifle

that when fully loaded

is poised to enjoy

the meal it deserves,

not a mere snack,

but a banquet.

This is the name

of your malaise

a thousand rounds

when one will do–

and a beast

that feeds

without remorse

even when its belly

is full.

This is the sound

of flesh torn,

bones shattered,

and organs exploded,

the scent

of exposed viscera,

and the color

of blood.

This is the bullet

inscribed with your name

and the hot summer’s path

it took

through walls

and glass

and alley ways

to find you,


Gary V. Powell ~ Super Blood Wolf Moon

Available through Kallisto Gaia Press

Crowder Peas first appeared in One Minute Magazine

Other books by Gary V. Powell

Lucky Bastard, Main Street Rag Publishing, a novel

Beyond Redemption, short story collection

Getting Even and Other Stories, short story collection

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