John Moncure Wetterau
Born in Greenwich Village, New York City, but raised, mostly, by my grandparents in Woodstock, a small town in the Catskill mountains. Midway through sophomore year at Hamilton College, an inner voice said, “Get out!” It seemed crazy, but I knew it was the right thing to do. A fraternity brother told me I'd have no trouble finding work on the shrimp boats in Key West.
A friend and I hitchhiked south. Near the New Jersey line we got a ride with another young guy, Pete. "Where you headed?"
"Me, too," he said. He told us that he'd gotten up before dawn in a small Vermont town, thrown some clothes and a baseball glove in the trunk, left a note on his girlfriend's porch, and taken off. We rocked on down the coast, listening to Brenda Lee, getting warmer each day.
I left my friends near Miami and went on to Key West. When I got there, I walked to the harbor and asked for a job on the first boat I found that had anyone on board. The captain said, “Shrimp season’s over, kid.” I think he felt sorry for me. He pointed to a rusty shrimper across the water. “He might take you.”
I picked up my bag and ran around to the other jetty, arriving just as the boat began to pull away. A man on deck was doing something with a cable. He wore a sweatshirt and had a two-day growth. “I’m looking for work,” I shouted over the engine.
“You a winch man?”
The winch occupied a large part of the deck, a complicated assembly of giant gears and levers. The strip of water below my feet widened. It was jump or forget it. I had a vision of winching the boat upside down in the Gulf. I shook my head and walked to the Southern Cross Hotel, a wooden building with white peeling paint and a sign declaring, The Southernmost Hotel in the United States.
I wrote it down in a notebook and have been writing ever since. Along the way I served in the Air Force, earned a degree in computer science from the University of Hawaii, married twice, and raised children. The adventures, the loves and betrayals, the teachers, the lessons---they are in my stories and poems, where, like all writers, I have tried to make of my deeper bio something worthwhile.
Where to find John Moncure Wetterau online
Where to buy in print
"Sans Fin" (without end, forever) is titled in honor of Alberto Giacometti and "Paris Sans Fin," the collection of lithographs he produced 1957-62. The author says, "I work similarly, from the outside in, finding in description, celebration and an opening without end."
The book begins in Panama, but most of the poems were written on Peaks Island, Maine. The poems are vivid and intensely intimate.
On the Road to Dharamsala
Clear beautiful poems that take you to The Big Island of Hawaii, Dharamsala, India, and the coast of Maine. The author writes, "Dharamsala is in northern India, where the Himalayan massif feeds high fertile valleys and where many Tibetans are rebuilding their lives. India is dirty, dangerous, cheap, gorgeous, crowded, and intensely human; it reveals you to yourself."
The Book With The Yellow Cover
The author writes, "This book is modeled on a book of Chinese and Japanese poems that I gave to a friend on the west coast. It was a very small book with a yellow cover, stapled together. No adornments. Just the poems, alive after hundreds of years. The original edition was stapled and sized to fit in a shirt pocket."
A fine first collection in the style of Gary Snyder and Mary Oliver.
Many new poems and selections from three full length collections make this an excellent introduction to the author.
There is something for everyone in this book. The clear open poems have a glow that seems to strengthen on re-reading. The settings are mostly in Maine, Hawaii, India, and Thailand.
O plus F
A solitary man in a diner on the coast of Maine. A tall beautiful stranger. A whip. A bronze heart. Hawaii. The Northwest ... How far will he go to face the truth about himself? ... This is a story about borders: between father and son, between sex and love, between life and death.
Wild, Hard, Sweet
Harry is determined to outdo his smooth successful father. Charley is a local hero, an athlete, good-natured, fiercely independent. They join forces in a drug buy and are busted on the Maine coast. Charley runs; Harry games the system, using his family's money and connections. Who comes out ahead? This is a finely written story about mavericks growing up. Sexy, visual, and honest.
Joe Burke's Last Stand
Joe Burke is handsome, capable, getting a little gray at the temples. Divorce has left him wondering what's next. He throws some belongings in his truck and leaves town to find out, a search that takes him from Maine to Hawaii. A joyful, powerful, book about sex, love, art, and finding one's teachers.
Every Story is a Love Story
A beautifully written story of first love and discovery. Patrick, an army brat, and Willow, a musician from an academic family, drift separately into Woodstock, N.Y. in the early sixties. The characters include Bob Dylan and Joe Burke, of "Joe Burke's Last Stand," Wetterau's first novel. The author says, "It was an exiting time in an exciting place. I'm not Joe Burke, but I was there."
"The line across her eyebrows and tapering along her jaw was right. He'd left out a lot, but that didn't matter. If what was there was true enough, you knew the rest---like a Michelangelo shoulder emerging from stone."
Maine, Seattle, Hawaii, and India are the settings for these beautiful stories of late awakenings, integrity, and persistence.
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