Bio of jacob erin-cilberto

jacob erin-cilberto, originally from Bronx, NY, now resides in Carbondale, Illinois.  erin-cilberto has been writing and publishing poetry since 1970.  He currently teaches at John A. Logan and Shawnee Community colleges in Southern Illinois.

Erin-cilberto’s latest book pour me another poem, please is now available through Water Forest Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. His previous five books, Rewrites and Second Chances, an Abstract Waltz, Used Lanterns, Intersection Blues as well as demolitions and reconstructions are also available from those websites. erin-cilberto has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry in 2006-2007-2008 and again in 2010.  He has taught poetry workshops for Heartland Writers Guild, Southern Illinois Writers Guild and Union County Writers Guild.

when format is all we have

scantily clad nouns
make for the barest reactions
when verbs are chasing after

and adjectives missed the bus
giving adverbs no work for the day
naked sentences wear grim expressions

and punctuation finds itself huddling 
on street corners, fingers wrapped around
prepositional bottles, swigging articles
to forget

why do titles matter in a world 
of abandoned theses
we could come up with a plan of development
to make things better.

but the essay will still not reach
the required wordage,
and those nouns will still shiver
even when the hottest conclusions

are reached.


Voices Silenced at Birth

"thank you for your submission, unfortunately, we will not be using any of your poems at
this
time" 
wrote the editor, gagging on his own laughter---
knowing the discouraged poet will feel like
slitting his tedious throat, or blowing up his cacophonous computer
(riotous sounds of stonewalled words)

the power of the rejection,
like a discounted advance
asking to dance and getting a coldly polite
"no thank you"
(you're too short, not Robert Redford enough or
dressed well enough to indicate status)
and your words as well, poor panhandling prosy pitiful and plain Jane

"We read your submission carefully"  ( ha ha, yes, he will believe this---)
"we get so many poems, it is impossible to publish all of them"
(chortling, as the editor thinks "i love slamming doors in their pesky little
faces---)  "oh do please submit in future, we would love to read more of your
work" (even though we didn't actually read these, we just pretended)
and now your poetic ego is upended

and Sylvia Plath has company---she is wherever she is now, still trying to get accepted into
Frank O'Conner's short story, writing class---her embarrassed kids grown up without a mother, one of them
unliving in the same dimension where she found her peace, at last---"Good God Almighty,
peace at last"
a damsel of tragically unfinished business----

editors have the power to elate and the power to deflate----

and some writers undevelop
as if lacking fortuitous film
they are a photo finished
in flux

critics weigh in so heavily they smother the druthers
to poem.
to live
to poem

suicide syllables
put their mouths into ego's sheet
and no morning comes,

while others gloat over their dawn coffee
never sleeping,
just keeping
would be wordsmiths

from ever becoming.

erin-cilberto
9/16/17