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Personal Histories

In “Personal Histories,” poet and essayist, Tom Driscoll shares a collection of short prose written over the past fifteen years. Touching on topics of war and peace, social justice and citizenship, race and reckoning, politics past and present, historical fact and fiction, this is a book that illustrates the challenges involved with simply being, simply paying attention to the world around and the workings of one’s own mind. A trip to the movies, an online troll spat, an old photograph found in the desk drawer, a conversation overheard at a convenience store, light shining off the wings of an airplane passing overhead —these are the spurs for speculation, consideration and argumentation, even an occasional prayer.

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: lulu.com; First edition (August 10, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9781716664793

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Odd Numbers

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This is Tom Driscoll’s fourth book of poetry. Musing on ideas of history and spirit, offering observational portraits and confessional testimony, “Odd Numbers” is a work of devoted attention.

Odd numbers, these days
as real as beads in your hand,
each their precious shape.

Product details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: lulu.com; First Edition edition (August 15, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1387162411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1387162413
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches

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Press

Interview with Mass Poetry

static1.squarespaceTom Driscoll is a poet, columnist, and essayist. He lives in Framingham, Massachusetts with his wife, artist Denise Driscoll. His most recent collection of poetry, “Odd Numbers” published through lulu.com in September 2017. Previously he has released three collections of poetry, including “Instead of Peace” and “Absence Singing” as well as a volume of song lyrics, “Songs For All The Wrong Reasons.”

When did you first encounter poetry? How did you discover you wanted to write poems?

I grew up in a household that cherished books, not poetry so much, but certainly literature and history. My dad especially loved the wall of shelves he put up in our cramped little den, to make it that much more cramped, that he called his “library.” Early on I hankered to write on account of that reverence I had noticed. It was a little like growing up in a religious home and wanting to become a priest.

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Framingham’s Tom Driscoll pens fourth book of poetry

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Posted Apr 30, 2018
By Chris Bergeron, Daily News Correspondent

FRAMINGHAM – For Tom Driscoll, writing a poem is like “leaving a trail of bread crumbs” to the moments that give life meaning.

Readers of the Framingham poet’s newest collection will discover pathways to love and loss, doubt, friendship and mortality in the clear speech of a neighbor’s familiar voice.

Titled “Odd Numbers,” Driscoll’s 55 poems reveal his “honest attempt to find meaning” as a husband, father, artist and citizen in an ephemeral world.

 

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Poetry

Always a river

There is always a river
in those dreams more than
mere dreams
though sleep restores us
we are carried to a destination

where there is always a river
the rogue general encamps
at a level place by the banks,
beside the ancient bridge
and outside the useless city walls.

There is always a river
consummate expression
of its watershed, writhed
and veined, turning in the basin
of a sensate creature land.

There is always a river
taking, delivering sending
its signals through stony flesh,
embodied, ambled past
ignoring our presence or blind.

There is always a river and
weary of its journey here
it breaches what had seemed
a boundary. We cup our hands
and drink, drink the clear water.

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Essays

Stone

“Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart.”

Before I could even begin to articulate why, that line from W.B. Yeats played through my mind. I had watched in horror the slow murder of George Floyd. And then the convulsive reaction of rage and protest played out across the country. That stone seemed to weigh in my hand like something you might throw through a plate glass window.

The line comes from Yeats’ poem ‘Easter 1916.’ Maybe what put it in my mind was another line from that poem, actually something of a refrain… “All changed, changed utterly.” I’d had that sense when I first watched the video online, that somehow something was now changed. Maybe this was only a hope — that the callouses we’d built over the years were going to be ripped away — by the horror to which we were all witness.

That’s the narrative of Yeats’ poem.

“Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart.”

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Essays

At Stone Mountain

My wife paints now mostly. In the past she’s done installation art, sculptural and environmental work. Sometimes I’ll press her to interpret her work for me and she’ll remind me that this isn’t her job in the end. She works with intention; but there is a dimension to experiencing her art that is my responsibility, the responsibility of anyone who chooses to engage with it.

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Poetry

The Art of Ignorance

Think of it as a kind of sleep,
restful, nourishing, blank;
a place where fears would reside
and also fall away forgotten, become
powerless. I don’t mean to suggest
what you don’t know won’t hurt you.
It’s just that the last thing you want to give
a frightened child is insight…
and what are any of them but frightened?

There comes that moment
an exhausted swimmer decides to drown,
the skeptic resigned to worship.
An artist gessoes blank canvas
and it is art enough
that honors the unmarked surface…
A man will take measure sometimes
of the crimes
that he did not commit.

“Sleep” isn’t the exact word, though.

There are traditions where the name of God
must remain unspoken; the light of a face
is imagined an all-consuming fire.

Courage only makes known what it would
when we are ready.

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Instead of peace




Poetry in song form, soliloquy, haiku, anecdotal, confessional—
“quite a bit of complaining sadly, but also prayerful moments, of due thanks and praise.”





Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: lulu.com; First Edition edition (May 25, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1329163907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1329163904


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Absence Singing





Addressing loss or “absence” —seeking to understand and accept it, maybe even receive some aspect of the lack as blessing, something constant, present, perhaps even permanent —and singing.







  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: lulu.com; First edition (July 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1304102254
  • ISBN-13: 978-1304102256

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