A lifetime of writing poetry is about to be a turned into a dream come true for a Bellevue University employee.
Clif Mason, dean of arts and sciences for BU, will publish his collection of poetry, “Knocking the Stars Senseless,” this month.
Mason said his first encounter with poetry was a high school English class where he had to write a poem.
“From there, I kept doing things,” he said. “I wrote poems on my own through about my freshman and sophomore year of college, and then I thought about sending them out.”
Mason attended college at the University of South Dakota, where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Arts in English. He received his doctorate in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
As an undergraduate, he published several poems in campus publications as well as the South Dakota Review. From then, Mason has had more than 100 poems published in publications around the country.
Mason first began writing nature poetry, inspired by the landscape around his university, as well as the Missouri River valley and animals and plants in the area.
“[My themes] have changed throughout the years,” he said.
“In the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, I began shifting and trying more styles. I began as a free verse poet and then in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, I began experimenting with all kinds of other traditional forms such as sonnets, villanelles.
“Also, surrealism became a huge interest of mine in the ‘90s.”
Mason’s book will be published through the Stephen F. Austin Press at the Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
“They have roots in Nebraska and have published other Nebraska poets before, several of them are my friends,” he said of the printing company.
“When I was thinking of a place to send this to, two of them recommended there.”
Mason will have 36 poems in the book, including two long form poems at six to seven pages long.
The works range from nature and narrative poems, to those that discuss social justice issues.
Mason said some of the pieces are newer and some reach back to the early 2010s. He even originally had pieces written in the 1980s, which he decided to scrap for newer pieces.
The biggest thing Mason said he hopes for is people to enjoy his work.
“I’ll be happy if it finds people to read it and who would find it of interest and something that will bring something special to their days as they read it,” he said.
“I’ll be happy if I find appreciative readers.”