Meet the Kansas City Voices Editorial Board-Alan Proctor

At eight, I wrote my first poem urging mother to stop smoking:

I wish you would, I truly do
Stop smoking that awful brew
Of tobacco, filter, smoke and trash
That simply does nothing but fall to ash…

and so forth in awkward iambs. I was a stutterer – maybe that’s why the rhythm, needed for the rhyme to work, seemed so magical to me. In college an English professor who wrote and taught poetry told me, “Face facts, Proctor. You’re a prose writer, not a poet.” I was devastated. Self-image at 19 is all-important. Being a poet had certain panache, so I persisted. In my late 20s, I wrote a humor column for the Tri-county Advertiser. Humor, someone told me, is the disguise that cynicism wears when it’s having fun. Fun? I was struggling financially with a baby on the way! In my mid-thirties I pounced on a want-ad for an “editor/writer.” I was lucky. For thirty years I wrote fund-raising letters, grants and inspirational speeches for a variety of nonprofit big-wigs. Retired now, I write whatever I want, whenever I want. My advice to aspirants: don’t smoke and write your socks off – poetry, prose, forms unknown, so long (as Frost said) your work “begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”

~Alan Proctor

****Whispering Prairie Press counts ourselves very fortunate to have Alan volunteer his time and talent as one of our poetry editors.  Learn more about his work at http://alanrobertproctor.wordpress.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *