This was W. H. Auden’s first book of poetry.

It was hardly more than a chapbook, really — it was a hand-printed pamphlet informally published in 1928 by Auden’s friend and fellow Briton, the poet and essayist Stephen Spender (second photo).  Auden would have been about 21 at the time.  In other words, Auden’s career began in a manner not unlike many indie poets today.

Only about 45 copies of Poems were released.  The book is today considered one of the rarest in 20th Century literature.

To make matters just a bit more confusing, Auden’s next two books of poetry, in 1930 and 1934, were likewise entitled simply Poems.  (And the 1930 book had two editions.)  Oddly, Auden wanted no distinctive title for any of the books because he thought a title might distract the reader from the content of the poems themselves.)  The 1930 volume was accepted for publisher Faber & Faber by none other than T.S. Eliot, who was one of his earliest influences.






Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine features “This Windy Morning”

The February 2018 Issue of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine is out, and is available both for purchase and for free in PDF format.   If you’d like to read my poem, “This Windy Morning,” you can find it on page 14.

Thank you once again to Editor Sam Rose for allowing me to share my work!





“Not of Byzantium,” by Eric Robert Nolan

“Not of Byzantium”

Awakening at one AM after dreaming
not of Byzantium,
not of Babylon, but better —
Not Shangri-La, but shaded limb —
The pine I climbed when I was nine.

No Acropolis, only
fallow farm and rising sun.
Across, a distant treeline
ascends to render Athens’
Parthenon prosaic.

Exceeding empires, exceeding
even Elysium, is
This slumber’s ordinary boyhood field.

(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2015

Originally published in Dead Snakes.



Photo credit: kallerna [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

My poetry, 2017

Hey, gang.  I hope that you all had a terrific Christmas, and I hope that everyone enjoys a safe and happy New Year’s Eve tonight.

If you’d care to ring in 2018 with a little poetry, here’s where you can find everything I’ve published over the past year:

My poetry, 2017 


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“Shy From the Valley, My Child, My Love,” by Eric Robert Nolan

Shy from the valley, my Child, my Love.
Sparrows are scattering up from the dale.
Fevered and ravening, under the gale
is the blank-eyed wolf in the naked vale.

Veer from the East, my Child, my Love.
The shuttered kingdom drowses at dusk.
Over the slain stag’s waning musk
Are ardored boar of angled tusk.

Veer from the West, my Child, my Love.
In the towns, a stillness looms.
And a resurgent hunger glooms
the orphans in their upstairs rooms.

Divert from the North, my Child, my Love.
I see the wealthy huntsman there.
Beneath the starless heaven’s stare
hounds pursue the slowing hare.

Divert from the South, my Child, my Love.
Boorish kings bereft of reason
ponder politics and treason
in this graying, godless season.

Fear for the Country, my Child, my Love.
Trust not what we thought we had risen above.
Dried are the laurels and flown is the dove.
Bandits now brandish the falconer’s glove.

The range bleeds out expatriates.
The tepid winter sun still blanches
trees between abandoned ranches.
Blackbirds bicker at their branches.

Songless is the nightingale
huddled in its formless nest.
A burrowed bear of fervid breast,
rouses from its fitful rest.

The slowing river swells to move
artless serpents from their nooks.
The wordless falcon leans and looks
at the arcs of the verseless rooks.

(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2017



Photo credit: By popejon2 from Paddington, Australia (At Killarney Lake) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

“As Silver as the Stars You Tried to Rival,” by Eric Robert Nolan

“As Silver as the Stars You Tried to Rival”

world grows
darker in increments,
earlier every evening,
as Autumn’s arcing swallow bends to curve
at long last, rounding down, to the hardening ground, where only brown
leaves outlast November’s burning rug of reds and flaming footprints,
cast-off scarlets,

now giving way
to the gunmetal gray
of winter’s coarse eagle, its ash-gray and annual, slow,
feathered rule of sky ascends hemispheres, its lead belly
groaning for hare or softer birds, its slate eyes searching, yet ridden with hints of silver —

— thin silver threads in the breast of the lead predator,

screaming “December,”
slow, as slow as frost, as cold as loss,
frigid, frigid like a still photo and its forever frozen face there,
black and white, its timeless smile a lie, exposed by common calendars and your indifference.

If those blacks and whites were shaken up in a glass bottle, the jumbled shades under glass might make

— thin silver threads out of memory:

— as silver as the slimming minnows that you kicked
out of shallow water onto sand at 9
with the other boys
birthing, then returning swimming platinum
to the warm-womb mine of that black lake, you knew
that summer would never end —

— as silver as your father’s hair, when you were 13, the last time that you thought
your father would never end —

— as silver as the cross you gave to your first love,
kissing you at 16, there in the stairwell at school.
She laughed at your
accidental piety.
You thought it was a curving swallow;
it was a tiny crucifix.
And you told her
love would never end —

–as silver as the stars you tried to rival, drunk at 21, drunk at Cape Hatteras during the storm, drunk at the face of the Universe.
At “Kill Devil Hills” you balked at God.
The stars shouted with light, the violet-sable sky reeled and vaulted purple-black, interminable, drunk in its excess of self, the rhythmic, clutching sea its unforgiving son.

Your friends
warned you away from the sea.
The curving waves would swallow you.
They warned you, “You get dark when you are drunk.”
“And, besides, you’ll die.”
You laughed and stormed the waves against their wishes.
And you were dark. Your violet-sable heart
reeled and vaulted purple-black. You laughed
and shouted back at the stars,
young-mad and piss-drunk,
the freezing forward ramparts stung you but
you stormed in headfirst, headstrong, and interminable:

this night would never end,
and if it never ended, how could you?

(c)  Eric Robert Nolan 2015, originally published by Dead Snakes 2015



Photo credit:  bigwavephoto / Wikimedia Commons