In a brief span of pages Tony Howarth brings to life the outsider artist Dag, and Molly, the owner of the diner where Dag finds both coffee (with milk, three sugars) but more importantly, understanding.
It should come as no surprise that Tony Howarth's debut poetry chapbook takes the form of a "drama in verse," for it draws on his considerable experience in the theater. Or that his attention to fine detail and compact narrative reflect his background as a journalist. His years as an educator show in the lessons here about human nature and the values of empathy and kindness. But with this book he now firmly adds poet to his list of achievements. In a brief span of pages he brings to life the outsider artist Dag, and Molly, the owner of the diner where Dag finds both coffee (with milk, three sugars) but more importantly, understanding. Like Dag creating his art from refuse, Howarth creates an entire world out of the fragments of Dag's life. As Dag struggles to create his art and his life, he finds another companion in the sculpture of a broken angel; but it is Dag himself who is the broken angel of this story, a spirit unsuited to life in our fallen world, but perhaps one who redeems us through his art and his example.
Tony Howarth, editor for dramatic writing with The Westchester Review, is a playwright, director, former journalist, retired in 1991 after twenty-eight years as a high school and college teacher of English and theatre. Drawn to poetry in youth by Wordsworth, he adjusted his ambitions to journalism, in Cleveland; Meriden, Connecticut; the US Army; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Indianapolis; and New York City, where he was editor of the editorial page of The World-Telegram and Sun. Disillusioned after a printers' strike and the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he turned to teaching, where he was asked to develop a theatre program, which in turn led to a list of professional credits, including a dozen plays and a musical presented off-Broadway. He began writing poetry again in 2009 after a visit to Wordworth's Dove Cottage in England's Lake District. His poetry, developed at the Hudson Valley Writing Center under the treasured guidance of Jennifer Franklin and Fred Marchant, has appeared in many magazines. His verse dramas WILD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN (2021) and A HAND TO HOLD (2022) were published by Broadstone Books.