Friday, September 12, 2014

I Wish I'd Written This

by Samuel Peralta

The streets
weft breeze-swept sheets, texts,
letters, sentences never ended:

Next bet, Everest! Ever been
there? They tell me extreme,
WTC-sheer. Yes! Wherever
there’s extreme, there’s me! Tell

See Excel sheets 20-23, rev 7.
The VP feels the new Eng’g Dept
spend needs exec check. Prep
NYSE. Then pre-Dec 3, delete

These extensions skew the
expected rent levels. Next term,
they’ll exceed the free expenses
precendent. Nevertheless

When we met, speech deserted
me... Never expected the sweetness,
the perfect tenderness... Melt me,
tell me the deepest secrets... Let me

September 11.
The breeze sweeps the letters.
The letters never sent.

I couldn't make up my mind what to use today, though there were several possibilities. I procrastinated ... then I came across this on facebook and knew it was the one I'd been waiting for. 

Perhaps others of you will already have seen it on facebook too; it's still worth sharing here for those who haven't. With what magnificent understatement it evokes that massive and sudden interruption to so many individual lives. It's an original approach, which doesn't tell us how to feel or how the poet feels. There is no need. We all know in any case what we did and do feel about this particular tragedy. In these imagined, different fragments, though — presented almost without comment — somehow there is great tenderness. The brief framing verses, with the merest mention of the breeze, the sentences never ended and the letters never sent, provide sufficient poignancy in just those few unadorned words.

Whether or not you've seen this poem, probably many of you have encountered Sam and his poetry — on twitter @semaphore, on facebook, at his 'Semaphore' blog, or as a presenter at dVerse for some months, where he taught us well about traditional forms (and cured my fear of the sonnet). I first became aware of him in 2009 when Collin Kelly and Didi Menendez compiled a collection by poets on twitter, which included us both. (It was issue #24 of a magazine called OCHO). Ever since then I've been a huge admirer.

You can always count on him for originality. Even when he is using traditional forms, he finds new ways to use them, such as writing a sonnet which is also a ghazal. And I find his use of language very beautiful.

He has not merely one distinguished career but several simultaneously, in literature, science and business. He also writes music. Here, concentrating on the literary, are the impressive details taken from his facebook profile:

Sam is the author of five poetry collections, all of which rose to #1 on the Amazon Kindle Hot New Releases in Poetry, and all of which have hit the Top 10 Bestsellers list in their Amazon Kindle Poetry category.

Sam has won awards for his poetry in the US, Asia, the UK, and Canada. At 19 he was the youngest to win a Palanca Award for Literature for his manuscript 'Pacific'. At 24 he was a winner in the BBC and the UK Poetry Society’s National Competition for 'Hush'.

The League of Canadian Poets included 'A Mother', 'Concatenations' and 'Savannah' in its award anthology series. In 2000, an analysis of 'A Mother' was included in provincial examinations.

In 2002, he accepted an Innovative Technology Achievement Award from the Digital Literature Institute for ebook software development. 

Until 2009, Sam took a hiatus from literature to write music and lyrics as 'Sam Parr', and for other musicians and bands. His music garnered thousands of followers on MySpace, and played in front of thousands more in live venues. 

In 2010, Sam placed # 1 in the voting for the Best Poetry on Twitter; and was listed at #29 in a compilation of the Top 100 Twitterers in the Book World. 

In 2011, he placed 12th in a Facebook reader's poll of favourite classic and modern poets; a poll topped by William Shakespeare, Robert Frost and Pablo Neruda. Samuel was the #2 favourite living poet on the list, behind Leonard Cohen.

In 2011, Sam was also named to the Top 10 List of Most Influential People on Twitter That You Don't Know. Also in 2011, his poem "Radar" was shortlisted for the ARC Poem of the Year.

In 2012, he released "Sonata Vampirica", which rose to #1 on the Amazon Kindle Hot New Releases in Poetry, and #1 on the Amazon Kindle Bestsellers list for poetry. His subsequent collections all hit #1 on the Hot New Poetry Releases list, and all hit the Top 5 Poetry Bestsellers list.

In 2013, Sam was tapped as a juror in the Scholastic Writing Awards, for Poetry. "Sonata Vampirica" was shortlisted for the Elgin Award.

Over 2013-2014, he branched into support for independent filmmakers, helping fund nearly 50 short and feature films; becoming Associate Producer for "Trust Me", "Splinter", "Decon", "Rest Stop", "All the Marbles", "Mai Mai Miracle"; and Executive Producer for "Closure", "Flower Girl", "Dorsal", "A Letter from Vienna", "Butterfly", "Little Fishes", and "A Murder of Crows".

His music continues to be produced and performed by independent musicians, notably Friedrick Ryan and Paul Grai.

By day, Sam is a high technology business executive.

His poems have been featured in Combustus, Existere, The Malahat Review, Metazen, MiPoesias, OCHO, Poets and Artists, Undercurrents, Scholastic, Seedpod, and elsewhere. He has written a regular column on poetic form for the Dverse Poetry online blog, and edits The Semaphore Anthology, a journal of poetry he wishes he'd written, but didn't.

Lately he has been bursting into print as a fiction writer. His Amazon page connects you to both his fiction and his poetry.

You can sign up here to his newsletter to keep up with his latest literary endeavours, and even receive gifts of new reading matter now and then.

Samuel Peralta has become one of my favourite poets. He's also a very nice person, generous to others and showing no signs of the conceit to which he might seem entitled.

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).


  1. Excellent choice for today, Rosemary! And as usual, your essay makes me feel that I get two "wish I had written this" side by side. This poem left me speechless when I first read it, and today it fills me with Joy. Odd, yes? But the ability to snatch from the air and share this experience with others is astounding! Since I couldn't write this poem myself, reading it is a deep spiritual awakening, a pleasure.

    1. I find it's one of those few I am already reading over and over.

  2. Your procrastination paid off Rosemary. It's wonderful that you chose Samuel Perralta as todays poet. I not only wish I had written the selected poem (so beautiful) but I wish i had a bit of Samuel's talent and unending energy. I have often wondered how one person can be this creative in a variety of mediums. How does he seem to have 48 hours to my 24 a day? I was always so honored by his supportive and kind comments on my blog, when he wrote for Dverse, as i am honored by yours. Thank you so much for highlighting Samuel. He's an inspiration.

    1. He is indeed, Myrna, and the truth is that he has probably never written a poem I didn't wish I had written!

  3. Grrrr...blogger ate my lengthy comment. I am so glad you chose this poem for the week of September 11, Rosemary. I didnt see it on facebook and would hate to have missed it. It is riveting, immediate, full of life, tender, and the reader feels annihilation hovering one inch away. Poetry doesnt get any better. Sam accomplishes so much, in every direction, it is amazing. Sam, you are on fire! Your light shines so bright it hurts our eyes. Yay! And Myrna, you have hit the nail on the head. Even though Sam is so busy and accomplished, he is kind, thoughtful and generous in his comments to other poets. A good man!

    1. And isn't it cool that he has his own 'I wish I'd written this' collection online! (The Semaphore Anthology.)

  4. Wow, Rosemary, you have outdone yourself in the depthful way you have written this article today. I hadn't seen much of Sam anywhere for a while so it was interesting to read this great update & also to have opportunity to read this well-chosen poem!

    1. I've wanted to feature Sam here for a long time, but hesitated simply because a lot of his work might be familiar to people online. I'm very glad to have found this one, so well-timed and perhaps not very widely disseminated yet (although we are doing our best to correct that, lol). And it spoke to me so deeply....

  5. Excellent choice Rosemary -- I wish I'd written just about every thing Samuel's written...he's brilliant...and I wish I had even a tenth of his energy and drive...I follow him as closely as I can and am continually astounded by his work. Thanks for this!

  6. Thank you for featuring Sam Rosemary ~ I actually subscribed to his news letter so I am familiar with his newest work and activities ~

  7. Well, this is all making me blush! Thank you all for your kindness, and thank you Rosemary for featuring this poem.

    My digression into speculative fiction has been such an experience! I was lucky to get several short stories published into two anthologies, where my co-authors were folks of some renown. I've also started an anthology series of my own, where I give equal voice to established writers and new, and that's very fulfilling.

    And poetry lives on! I snuck one in, right in the middle of my first standalone fiction title, "Hereafter" ....So happy to hear that some of you are along for the ride - because the best is yet to come. ;-)

  8. Rosemary,

    This is great interview and I am so glad to see it because Sam Peralta is so deserving, and such a generous poet who shares his inspiring 'expertise' so openly.

    Loved it and Sam - I continue to admire your work from across the oceans...

  9. Rosemary, gracias for remiding me of Sam Peralta again. he is well deserving of our attention. he is truly a brilliant mind and heart

    gracias mi amiga

  10. I wish I'd written this too! Good choice.


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