- World Effects, a Stanley Hanks Chapbook, no. 5, St. Louis, 1990
- Lifetime Possessions, Winner of the 1997 Riverstone Press poetry Award
by Laura Anderson (SHS) 1997
Gary Myers is a poet who was born in Great Falls, Montana, in 1950. Myers graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1973 with a BS degree and received an MFA in 1977 from the University of Iowa. He earned his Ph. D. in English and Creative Writing at the University of Houston in 1986. In addition to writing poetry and teaching creative writing, he has played string bass with several orchestras, including the Newfoundland Symphony, and guitar with a rock band called Torres that he has been a member of since high school. His wife Connie and he have two children, Jacqueline and Timothy.
His poetry collection entitled World Effects received the Stanley Hanks poetry award and was published by the St. Louis Poetry Center in 1990. His poetry book Lifetime Possessions was selected as the winner of the 1997 Riverstone Press Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, the Annual Survey of American Poetry: 1986, Bitterroot, Blue Light Red Light, Kansas Quarterly, Outlook, Poetry, and Timbuktu and others.
Dr. Myers is currently Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Young Harris College in Georgia. From 1988 until 2012 he served in various positions at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi, including dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, professor of English, director of The Institute for the Humanities, and director of creative writing. Previously in his career, he had taught from 1986 to 1989 at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he also founded the Poetry in the Schools program at St. Luke’s Elementary, and, while doing graduate work, Myers taught at the University of Houston, Houston Community College, and Houston Baptist University.
More than 100 of his poems have appeared in numerous publications throughout the United States and Canada. He is currently working on a poetry manuscript that focuses on the Holocaust titled Planet Auschwitz as well as a poetry manuscript titled Life’s Promise. A member of the Poetry Society of America, Myers also has given numerous readings of his work around the country.
A Review of World Effects
by Laura Anderson (SHS) 1997
Gary Myers’s poetry collection World Effects contains fourteen poems which are deep, emotional, and illustrative. Some of them have been published previously in other journals or books, but this collection is the first printing of the poems in one volume. Some of the titles are Invitation from a Deceased Spanish Poet, Free Fall, Ode to Sleep, For Now and Always, Weeping Angel, Cherry Orchard, Drinking Beer with Friends, Houston, 1988, Death of the Romantic Poet, Stars, Nightwatch, and Instructions for Leaving College without a Degree. I found all of the poems to be very interesting. Myers’s poetry comes straight from the heart as he writes about his personal experiences, emotions, and his family.
When I read the poems for the first time, I was left somewhat in the dark about what some of them were about. The poem Ninth and Charles was one of these. In an interview with him, Myers explained to me that when he moved from the North to the South, he was surprised how beautiful the people were here. In the poem a woman is asking the speaker the time of day. Myers explains that the “speaker is overcome by the woman’s beauty and he is just trying to think of something to say as an excuse to speak to her.” He added, “I wrote this poem as an example of how someone can be disarmed by beauty.” In the poem the man can’t think of anything to say, so he just starts babbling on about bizarre things. Therefore I thought the poem was about some strange man, and I really did not fully comprehend its meaning at first. After reading the poems again (and sometimes again and again ) and also after interviewing Dr. Myers, I understood better the content and the symbolism found in each individual poem.
I already knew Dr. Myers somewhat because his daughter Jackie and I are friends. In reading his poems, I felt as if I knew a little more about him and his journey through this world. I now see him in a different light. His book contains poems that are about events and things that he finds to have some importance in life.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in poetry and enjoys reading a good collection of poems by the same author. Although I think a teenager like myself may have some difficulty understanding some of the poems’ deeper meanings, I still think this book is worth checking out. I have two favorite poems in this book. One of them is called The Sun-Filled Tree, which is about a challenged girl in one of his university classes who worked really hard for her grades and had earned a great deal of respect from many of her professors. Out of all the challenged students there, they thought she had the best chance of making something great of herself. Then one day she was in a car wreck and was tragically killed. I found the poem to be very sweet. It had a loving tone, yet sad because the speaker had lost a friend.
The other poem that is one of my favorites is Night Watch. It also is sweet and loving. This poem is about him talking to his daughter Jackie late at night when she is a little girl, telling her to rest peacefully. In the poem he relays a message that he will always be there to love and protect her. It is great to be able to read someone else’s emotions and be able to feel what he felt when writing the poem.
In conclusion, as I read the poems of Gary Myers, I gained a better understanding of what poetry is. I think anyone interested in poetry would find World Effects to be a worthwhile read.