How I Wrote My Poem: Guest Post by Tom Spencer


I am reblogging this previous guest post in memory of my friend, Tom Spencer, who passed away June 30, 2015.

How does one create poetry? I have no idea. I’ve tried it a few times and have only read one in my “therapy” sessions (translation: writer critique group). But instead of subjecting you to my near non-existent process, I’ve asked an expert to do it. The following guest post is by the Immediate Past President of the Indiana Poetry Society, Tom Spencer.

I took the words down from the shelf

in polished rhymes of rhythmic times

let them wander through my mind

to fraternize, socialize

mingle indiscreetly

At first they cast a jumbled mass

noble prose of, –

of –

of polysyllables

Gathered then the vowels as kin

they thought to start a movement

the “i”s made social ties with “e”s

the “o”s and “u”s sang the blues

the “a”s true fate stood isolate

quite shy the “y”

tried to imitate an “i”

The consonants in wonderment

thought their lot to emulate

sororities, minorities

groups of cliques

bold clichés

fraternities of vowels

conquistadors of toreadors

gathered force in kind

to stimulate the mind

Amassing then their rhythms

in ethnic groups of sound rebound

the orchestras were formed

arias of assonance,

consonance as minuets

alliteration salutations

their rhythms made relations

and then,

only then,

the labor did begin


Tom Spencer, is a northwest Indiana native now living in Lowell Indiana. He is a 1961 graduate of East Gary Edison High School with a BS degree from Purdue in 1995. Tom has been writing poetry since his encounter with Alice Peterson, an eighth-grade English teacher in the East Gary School system. He was mostly a formalist poet during the blue period of his life where family demands required his attention more than poetry and writing.

Tom has amassed a wide variety of experience to draw on for his poetry: a stint in the US Army’s Combat Engineers, sewing machine sales and service, millwright at Union Tank, blue print machine repairs and independent business along with community involvement.

He has been, and still remains active in many community organizations which, to him, is a wellspring of poetic fodder. A member of The Indiana Writers Consortium, Write-On Hoosiers, Northwest Indiana Poetry Society, The Indiana Federation of Poetry Clubs and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.

A widower since 2009 with one daughter, Lenore Spitznagel of St. Louis, Missouri, he has the required two “Brilliant Grandsons” now attending college in Missouri.

His mantra is “to be a writer of any genre you need to write every day”… and he does.


About Michelle McGill-Vargas

I hail from Gary, Indiana where I enjoy writing historical fiction, flash fiction, and short stories. My writings have appeared in "Lutheran Witness", "Splickety Magazine", "The Copperfield Review", "Typehouse Literary Magazine," and was a contributing writer to Concordia Publishing House's "Portals of Prayer" (October 2016). I've served as vice-president of the Indiana Writers' Consortium and am currently a board member of Midwest Writers. I am currently represented by Melissa Danaczko of Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency, Inc. I pay the bills as a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing. Visit my blog at
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