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Poet Spotlight: Steven Sassmann

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Steven Sassmann is the author of nine books of poems and poetry. His most recent released Spring 2019 from Spartan Press. Published in many magazines and anthologies including Chiron Review, Men in the Company of Women, Wingposse Art, Sassmann has also written and performed a poetry series on High Plains Public Radio. Not content with formed or narrative poetry printed in journals, Steven created his own form of poetry with a nod to popular memes he saw circulating on social media. He decided that creating visual poetry as sharable images would be a great way to circulate more poetry in visual sound bites. Steven’s poetic venue became Facebook. In response to the rapid feedback of the multinational community on community poetry sites, his style evolved and became easily recognizable because of it's readable "glyphic" form.

We wanted to spotlight Steve because he so fits the bill for both our Dark Poetry Contest and our Love Poetry Contests. So we thought we'd share his work with you to inspire poets to keep making new forms. Keep speaking their truth. When I met Steve last fall at Fountainverse Poetry Festival, I remember him comparing his poetry to Jack Kerouac meets Lady GaGa, but he says that's not exactly what he said. (This happens to me a lot) He writes, "I have evolved a new style of poetry which uses large font Interior Titles, innovative punctuation, and color. I aim for brevity and wit, and I favor content over style and form." Sassmann says he writes for the nonAcademic—who may need poetry the most.

Sassmann lives in Western Kansas in Smith Center with his wife, Mary. He explains that he's within range of the geographic center of America’s lower 48 states just east of the birthplace of “home On the Range,” and just west of the childhood home of Willa Cather. Sassmann writes, "here in this vast, almost empty high plains between Denver and Kansas City, the population has continued to dwindle since the advent of the tractor. Here, fossils are found right on the ground; as well as the arrowheads and the stone tools of America’s First Nations. Here, in the land of high wind and low rain, of the dustbowl days and the grasshopper plagues, the old farm houses somehow still stand, empty and open to the sky, as a testament to the lives lived lonesome."

Steven says he writes un-Intentionally; which is to say that he doesn’t begin until he has no choice. His explanation for his work,

"Just as there is a difference between a pretty picture and art, so too there is a difference between poems and poetry." Find his latest book published by Spartan Press here.

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