David Gale Wright has been writing verses since his earliest memories, and the Bartlett poet will be featured at this month’s Neshoba Coffee House on Dec. 4.
Writers, poets, musicians, and other creative people perform for small crowds at the recurring event. It is hosted the first Wednesday of each month at Neshoba Church, a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Cordova. Featured performers are followed by an open mike period.
Although it’s not his first reading there, this will be Wright’s first time in the spotlight. He finds reading for a live audience to be a bit nerve racking, but the feedback is exciting.
He also enjoys the cozy and friendly environment and the diverse performers. His son, Daniel, 17, is a guitarist and lyricist who also performs there occasionally.
“It’s fun to see people that you know from the church environment expressing themselves differently,” Wright said. “And we also have people coming in from outside the church that are very talented.”
Performers at the church’s Coffee House may touch upon spiritual topics, but that’s not the exclusive focus, he said. “They’re describing human experience, from facing death, to love, and facing truth.”
Poems he will read on Dec. 4 include “Cloud Shadows,” “A Parallel Theology,” and “The Elements.” He will also read one of his favorites, “Surtsey,” named for a volcanic island off the southern coast of Iceland and inspired by a show on how the Earth continually forms itself and new places arise. Each of the three stanzas begins with “I want to live where the Earth is newest.”
His poems are usually free verse and vary in topic. Some recurring words for him are “meadows” as a metaphor for the soul and “the narrows” to describe a cramped, trapped lifestyle.
“Lately, I’ve been focusing on kind of coming to terms with and accepting one’s own mortality – how that can influence how you see the rest of your life.”
Unsettling, perhaps, but Wright said, “Sometimes poetry is.”
He works as a lawn care professional and crafts poetry as time allows. His favorite writing environment is seated in his living room with CNN playing in the background. “I’ll find myself in a mood, and then some thought will come along to match that mood.”
He began to write poetry after reading works that inspired him. Today, his favorites include international poets like Joseph Brodsky (Russian), Dylan Thomas (Welsh), and Rainer Rilke (Bohemian-Austrian). A quote from German philosopher Martin Heidegger captures for Wright just why poetry matters: “Language is the house of Being. In its home man dwells. Those who think and those who create with words are the guardians of this home.”
Wright said, “I’m a fan of Heidegger’s thinking and philosophy. So poetry for me is a kind of a housekeeping of the mind.”
• Neshoba Coffee House
Readings, poetry, and music in a casual atmosphere.
7 p.m., first Wednesday of each month
Neshoba Church, 7350 Raleigh Lagrange Road, Cordova
The event is part of the “Wednesday Night Live” series, starting with dinner at 6 p.m.
Contact: (901) 266-2626