Forty-five years ago, on a blistering summer day, my wife and I wandered along the boardwalk on Catalina Island, just off the Los Angeles coast.  We stepped into one of many small gift shops and I noticed a little white book with child-like drawings of flowers on the cover.  It was titled Songs for a Son, and written by a man named Robert L. Peters, a professor at California State University, Riverside. I picked it up and read from the back cover.  Professor Peters, it explained, had written these poems when overwhelmed with grief by the sudden death of his four-year old son from an onslaught of meningitis.  

The poetry was stunning.  Simple, direct, gut-wrenching.  But was it really poetry, I wondered?  With no rhymes or overt musical cadence?  No “sing-songy”, flowery Victorian language?  No inane sentimentality?  I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I was sure of one thing.  The words created pictures in my mind and jolted me off the pages.  I knew at once this was the kind of writing I wanted to explore, understand and create – raw, visceral writing that would take my readers to another place, a place that made them not just read, but see and feel what I was trying to express.  

Today, I’ve managed to publish a good deal of work, and I’ve piled up many rejections.  But whatever my successes or failures, one thing is a constant.  Nearly a half century after discovering that wonderful little book, I am still amazed, still passionate and still trying to master this elusive craft.  

Works Published by Mason J. Press:
Voyager, Anthology Americana
The Revlon Slough, Anthology Americana
Winter Gulls at Dusk, Anthology Americana
Sniper, Anthology Americana