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BCC Shines A Light on: Michael Rogner

BCC Shines a Light On:

Michael Rogner

Name of the piece published by BCC:

When/where was it originally published:

Barrow Street (spring 2020)

What is the background of the piece? What led you to write it? What’s your process?

I came to poetry late in life (in my 40s), writing a bad poem out of the blue and then quickly becoming

obsessed. This is one of the first I wrote that I felt had a bit of spark. It’s quite literally about walking to

work, which for me is about 25 minutes through a beautiful and still fairly wild city park in the far

northern part of California.

I write daily, typically new material in the morning and revision later in the day. However it fits into my

schedule. I just try and make room for it. I’m a tinkerer, so if I check the ‘details’ tab in Word I can see

this piece was revised 57 times.

How did you feel when it was first published and how have your thoughts or feelings on the piece

changed from then to now?

Shortly after this appeared in print I was diagnosed with advanced stage IV cancer. The prognosis was

grim. I quit writing. However, weird things happen, we don’t all fall within the 95% confidence interval

on the bell curve, and I’m still here. I started writing again in May 2022 and am back to my old habits.

However this disease is relentless when it comes to asserting itself into my work. It’s always there,

waiting for an opportunity to grab my attention and turn a lovely line about mesquite into something


Reading this poem and a few others allows me to glimpse that strange life I’ve forgotten, and just how

easy everything was and I didn’t have a clue. It’s a nice reminder to push myself. I can still walk in wild

places. I can still work a job I love. I can still sit and watch birds, or read great writers, or talk to my

neighbors about the latest civic news. Nothing’s changed. Everything’s changed. Life is weird.

Is there a specific message you'd like readers to take away from reading this piece?

Read Steinbeck’s Sea of Cortez.

Where can readers find more of your work? (Website/social media, etc)

I’m kind of on Twitter, setting up a profile (@MCRogner) about the same time a fascist-adjacent son of a

scandal ridden mining magnate took over and started to tank the place. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.


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