“Maps” from Unopened

Here’s an interesting, different kind of ink, which provides analysis of a specific poem, “Maps” from my new book, Unopened.  Enjoy the read (and thanks Hannah)

An Analysis of Maps by Doug Hoekstra

Posted in 2019, family, fatherhood, Life, observation, perspective, Poetry, reviews, Travel, Unopened, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writers Voices – Saturday April 6

If you are in Iowa (or web savvy), tune into Doug’s interview on Writer’s Voices, KHOE, KICI-LP (Fairfield and Iowa City, respectively), Saturday, April 6 at 11:15. Doug will spend about a half hour talking to hosts Monica and Caroline, as well as reading from his new book Unopened.   If you build it they will come!

Posted in 2019, books, live event, Poetry, radio shows, Unopened, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unopened / The East Nashvillian

Nice to get some hometown ink, and thanks to the folks at East Nashvillian for this one, on the new book Unopened:

Fragments of memory, bits of travelogue, imagistic meditations, lyric glimpses into every-day lives; these are the materials from which the poems in Doug Hoekstra’s most recent book, Unopened, are made. “It started out with some poems about family and some memories that I thought I’d just share with my son and family members,” says the singer-songwriter and award winning fiction author about his new poetry collection. “But as I kept writing, it broadened, and I ended up wanting to create something for other readers as well. So the book is structured around that first group, and I wrote outward from there.” Some of the poems have appeared previously in literary journals; many are brand new. Their presentation as a group feels much like a collage, layering experiences and themes to create motifs throughout the book’s three major sections.

Those who think poetry is, in general, difficult to read will find Hoekstra’s work quite approachable. While the poems are drawn from the particulars of Hoekstra’s life, they are about moments and experiences any reader might have: flashes of memory or beauty, grief or wonder, or perhaps all of these at once. The title poem, for instance, takes us to the discovery of an unopened copy of a record in the speaker’s parents’ basement, a moment which cascades into another which imagines the father buying the record on his lunch break some 40 years prior. In its brief narrative, the poem conveys everything about how it feels to be going through a loved one’s belongings after that person is gone.

Hoekstra favors the plain spoken over the obtuse. The language of his poetry is direct, whether making an observation about society or depicting an intimate moment with family. He names Carl Sandburg and Charles Bukowski among his many influences, and both get mention in poems here. “It’s fine to have symbols and imagery and complex meaning and all that, but in the end, you have to think about direct communication. It’s still about making a direct connection with your audience,” Hoekstra observes.

Connect with Hoekstra’s Unopened at local booksellers, including Parnassus Books and Grimey’s New and Preloved Music and Books.


Posted in 2019, books, observation, perspective, Poetry, reviews, Unopened, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get the Funk Out – Monday March 25

Yes, Doug Hoekstra will appear on Janeane Bernstein’s Get the Funk Out show, KUCI, 88.9 FM, Irvine California this coming Monday, March 25 –  from 11:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. CT (9:30 a.m. PST).   Tune in, stream, listen to the words, stay for the music.  Thx, Doug

And as a postscript – you can listen here: 

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The Sacrifice

A new poem, just in time for baseball season.  But, as with all writing about baseball, it’s about more than the sport.  Enjoy.  Doug

scoreboard wrigleyThe Sacrifice

In baseball, it is a mighty thing,
to lay the bat horizontal
one hand gently on the barrel
holding on gingerly with
thumb and index finger
loose but steady, smooth,
behind the trademark so that
when the ball hits the wood
it stops dead, and falls
lifeless to the ground
while you drop the bat like fire
and run as fast as you can
knowing you will be out
but that it doesn’t matter
because you have done your job
and moved the runner over to second
for the sake of the team

Those who do not see
think you cannot hit, that
this was out of desperation
while gentle connoisseurs and
teammates in the dugout
applaud and slap your back
because you have done
what you are supposed to do
giving up yourself
for the greater good,
like time put aside to
listen to your lover,
check in on an old friend
play games with your children
or call on your parents
it isn’t really sacrifice
it’s the beauty of the game


Posted in 2019, Baseball, equanimity, family, fatherhood, friendship, giving, Life, love, Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unopened Reviews

doug chair hand again

More on the new book, “Unopened.” It’s been awhile since we had a record or book out, but it’s nice to see the amount of dedicated blogger / reviewers that have sprung up, passionate about literature, reading with no filter, digging the book for what it is. No, it isn’t the New York Times – it’s better. Of course, reviews are just part of the fuel that stokes the engine to make one project lead to the next. Should have news on radio and live stuff, forthcoming. For now, enjoy the clips, click the links for more, tell your mates, and by all means – pick one up! Parnassus (Nashville), Grimey’s (Nashville), Burke’s Books(Memphis), Amazon (Everywhere). Links below, and thanks for the read and the support.  Best,  Doug


“This is my first time reading the poet. I hope it won’t be my last. Unopened is an excellent collection of poems…broad, diverse…you never knew what to expect with every page. I enjoyed every poem in this collection. (The Booklover’s Boudoir)

“4 stars…I like words and if they sway me or make me feel some type of way then I’m all in…Doug’s book, Unopened, comes in three parts. If you like a three course meal, or love your experiences in threes, then you’ll love this….here’s the deal with this collection; you’ll definitely love one or two poems. You might even love a whole section or even better all three of them.” (For the Books I’ve Read)

“…From the first poem “Memory,” the reader is connected with the poet…Hoekstra, being a musician, also manages to include music in many of his poems — Sinatra, McCartney, Blues, and Jazz, in a very natural manner that is not forced and does not come across as song lyrics posing as poetry. The variety of forms are work well. It is a nice mixture of free form with a few sedokas and a sonnet (about a radiator of all things). Unopened is a meaningful collection of poetry that will strike a chord with most readers. It is a reminder that although we are all different, we share many of the same experiences and sometimes it takes good poetry to remind us of that” (BooksBikes – Evil Cyclist)

Order here:  https://www.amazon.com/Unopened-Doug-Hoekstra/dp/198366471

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Clark is Coming

Took a drive down the Natchez Trace last weekend, and as always, was struck by the layers of history as well as beauty. Passed by the Meriwether Lewis site and decided to write the piece I’d always meant to (“Clark is Coming”, based on his legendary passing at Grinder’s Stand – but hopefully, infused with contemporary relevancy. Enjoy, Doug

Clark is Coming

In a fever dream
pondering layers
of the earth, down to
the molten core, like
time through which
we wander – alone
real and imagined

Pacing like a fury
bandages bled through
shot by his own hand
or that of another, did it matter
who knew the West as he did
as he made the final crossing
for which he was well known

Brave and danger close
to eradicating culture
saved and elevated, from
a trapper to a hero,
postage stamps and museums
discovering a land
that already was and
would never cease to be

In lecture halls and parlors
for anyone who listened
arriving at the ocean
bygone days recaptured
in every single telling, like
a father remembering his son
as a little boy again

Calling out for waterGrinder Stand
weight of mind overcoming
the past reconciled in mercy
“Clark is coming,” he moaned
knowing understanding
what could never be
never really was



Posted in 2019, america, dreams, history, Life, loss, memory, place, Poetry, time, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment