Name a Blind Poet

I am intrigued by how poets are influenced by their visual sense. This is reflected in their verse, as well as the use of accompanying photographs and other visual artwork. And many of you practice both Taiga and Haiga poetry.

This leads me to wonder about the poetry of blind poets. First, which poets were/are blind? Besides Homer and John Milton, I was at loss to name any others, so I started a small research project.

Please help me build a list of blind poets.

Here are those I have identified thus far: the ancient Greek poet Homer, 17th century English poet John Milton, 15th century Hindi poet Sant Surdas, contemporary Australian poet Michelle Taylor, 9th century Persian poet Rudaki (alledgedly blind), 18th century Irish poet Anthony Raftery, 9th century Arab-Spanish poet Muqaddam Ibn Mu afa al-Qabri, 19th century American hymn writer and poet Fanny Crosby, 19th century Jewish-American poet Penina Moise, Haldane Burgess, Shetland’s famous blind poet, Irish poet Raftery, 10 century Sufi-Buddhist poet Abdul Ala-al-Marri, and Asik Veysel, 20th century Turkish songwriter and poet.

In advance, thank you for your help.

Response to Being Tagged

Kai tagged me and so I must share 8 random bits of information about myself.

Here they are:

1. I love my wife (Mary) and my two sons (Jeff and Jason) very much. How they put up with me, I will never know. All three are important teachers in my life.

2. I was born with an insatiable curiosity and interest in many different things. Sometimes my divergent interests cause me to move in too many different directions in my life. I am easily distracted by these differing interests and must work at keeping them in balance.

3. My real calling in life is spiritual guidance. I resisted it for too long, but began surrendering to it in the early 1990s. I was on my way to being a minister and missionary fresh out of high school, but did an about face when my hormones got the best of me and led me astray.

4. I gave up an academic/athletic (football) scholarship at a small church college in Kankakee, IL to go to the University of Arizona in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I lived in sin nonstop for three years and have never regretted it.

5. Because of my last name, most people think I am a full-blooded Italian, but I am only 25% Italian. The other 75% is 50% German and 25% Swiss.

6. I have worked on economic consulting projects in 41 US states and 13 countries during my career. In the early 1980s, I spent the better part of two years working in East Asia. It changed my life in more ways than one.

7. I love writing. Poetry has been a part of my life since my high school years, but I have only taken it seriously in the past four years. I just published my second book of poetry, which is far from my last. I have published nearly fifty academic and professional journal articles, book chapters, and monographs on economic development and environmental issues. I co-authored a book on economic development in 1999, and currently I am writing a new book on leadership.

8. My career is shifting in new directions that reflect my spiritual path. Poetry, workshops, book-writing, speeches, and life coaching are likely aspects of the next leg of my career. Meaningful work, authentic leadership, creativity, and personal transformation are all reflections of this new path. I try to live up to Gandhi’s advice: “Be the change you want to create in the world.”

Rather than tag anyone in specific, I invite everyone to share their life with others.

Second Printing of Stilling the Waters Released

I am pleased to announce that BookSurge Publishing just released the second printing of Stilling the Waters, my first poetry book, which was first published in 2005. The first edition of the book sold very well. I was encouraged by the publisher to make some changes in the book’s look and organization.

Stilling the Waters is now available on and other online bookstores.

(Click on image to enlarge it)

Walks in Life’s Sacred Garden is Available Now!

BookSurge Publishing (Charleston, SC) has released my new book, Walks in Life’s Sacred Garden to for worldwide distribution.

You can order your copy by clicking on this link.

Thank you so much for your order.

I am eager to hear what you think.

Best wishes,

Don Iannone

Welcome to the Poetic Alchemist

Welcome to my new poetry blog.

Why give a poetry blog the name Poetic Alchemist? For me, writing poetry is an act of alchemy. Most poets turn alchemist in mixing and blending words to create a poem. Successful poems seem to contain magic, which the poet some times intentionally salts the poem with, but even more often, the magic simply appears like an unexpected rabbit drawn from the poet’s hat.

Successful poetry speaks to the reader from the inside out. That is the beauty and mystery of poetry. Some poems seem even to possess you with unshakeable images and feelings.  Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken has always hit me like a ton of bricks. In this poem, Frost gives image to a feeling inside me about the choices I have made in my own life about my work, relationships, and other things. It helps me to see how I am. That is very powerful!

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth;               

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same,               

And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back.               

I shall be telling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.

I hope you enjoy the poetry brewed here at Poetic Alchemist.

May you live a poetic life!

Don Iannone