It was my honor to host a poetry group in various formats between 1996 and 2004 in which such deep bonds were forged that we referred to each other as cousins — family by choice. The family suffered entirely too many losses. These are websites I built over the years for some of its dearly departed mainstays. Following the Next Site button from each collection will lead you full circle back to this page.
This is the only area of Poets Collective that I don’t want to expand.
John T. Baker was a gentleman and a scholar, witty beyond compare. At the P.O.E.M.S. Place forum (2000-2004), I assigned him the tagline “Poetical Thespianage,” only to learn later that he had been both an FBI agent and an actor. That’s just one example of the psychic connection we shared. He died on September 3, 2006.
John Pickersgill, a frequent contributor to the P.O.E.M.S. newsletter (1996-2000), was both wildly funny and endearingly humble. During our get-acquainted phase, I lavished so much praise on him that he asked me to send him a trowel for his 85th birthday. He died in 2005.
Jude Peet was loved across the boards — I am only one of many who has been profoundly affected by her friendship. I made this site for her shortly before cancer took her physical presence from this world in 2004.
Don Tidwell, a/k/a “Tater,” was among the first and dearest of my cyberplaymates. Unfailing mentor, encourager, and confidant for seven years, his death in early 2003 marked the end of an era for me.
Robert Kogan may well have been the most all-inclusively loving, nonjudgmental human being I have ever encountered, online or off. He died on my birthday in the summer of 2000.
Ray Gessler‘s humble wisdom and gentle humor shone like a warm day on the family-by-choice known as P.O.E.M.S. Right up until his death in 1999, he exhibited an otherworldly knack for coming through with exactly the right words of encouragement when I was faltering, and if he did that for me I know he did it for others.
Laryalee Fraser‘s cohesive presence was a treasure to the P.O.E.M.S. family throughout its active years, as well as to a diversity of other online gatherings of poets until her untimely death in 2013.
Denise Gurran, a/k/a Diz, was an integral part of the family from its inception, well loved for her wisdom, compassion, enthusiasm, humor and tact. Her death in 2017 came as a shock, marking the fourth loss to cancer of beloved honorary cousins in this ring who should have long outlived me.