Laughter Includes the Word: Revealed, A Life of Poetry

With writings spanning more than five decades, award-winning author and literacy champion Doug Snelson shares, from his larger overall collection, a selection of verse reflecting his unique poetic perspective on the special and everyday events of his life in Laughter Includes the Word: Revealed, A Life of Poetry. 

Included in the collection are copies of original handwritten drafts as well as original typewritten drafts from his Olivetti-Underwood typewriter. Each poem is accompanied by a brief commentary about the circumstances of its composition and the year it was written.


The poems of Doug Snelson came as a surprise. I embraced their originality from the moment I began reading them, one by one. I was immediately taken by Snelson’s individualistic view of things and his ability to make our old words work again, even to sing. His distinctive vision, with its emphasis on the ordinary life around us, is well worth the reading. This poet accomplishes what every poet should aspire toward—he instructs on how to see and hear with aplomb.
— Neeli Cherkovski, award-winning poet, author, and memoirist

Laughter Includes the Word: Revealed, A Life of Poetry     Softcover:  128 pages  Dimensions:  5.5 x 8.5 inches

Laughter Includes the Word: Revealed, A Life of Poetry

Softcover: 128 pages
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

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Preview

i agained a friend

i agained a friend
(which is nice)

we talked until two
and each one of us knew
a friend is only once
never twice

i agained a friend
(which is rare)

we rehashed those old times
of some wild oats crimes
and how easy it is
not to care

i agained a friend
(which is bad)

we both spoke of our hell
and to him i could tell
the heaven of life
can be sad

i agained a friend
(which is grand)

we thanked friend in the sky
we’re friends ‘til we die
and we thanked one sweet word—
understand

i agained a friend
(which is nice)

we talked until two
and each one of us knew
a friend’s only once
never twice

For my best childhood friend, Mark, in the summer between college years after a visit. (1969)


standing with my back on the ground

standing with my back
on the ground
standing
surly
with my back
on the ground

my curly spine
weighing all
too divine

saying why must
i stand
with my back
on the ground

saying why
saying when
saying why
saying when

weighing all
too divine

standing with my back
on the ground
standing
surly
with my back
on the ground

With my infantry platoon in the northern training area in Okinawa at the end of a 25-mile forced march with my infantry platoon I stood as the officer while my Marines rested and drank lots of water. I wrote this standing. I was an exhausted “leader of men” and wanted to crumble to the ground. (1974)


lotsam flotsam

lotsam flotsam stuff on shore
swishing, swashing, salty floor

flashing, scrashing to the core
bobbing, bleating, “help me, more!”

feasting, fretting of the lore
dolphin dazing to the roar

of flotsy stuff 
that suffocates
of slooty stuff 
that hesitates

disintegrates 
from sight and feel
how could the ocean make appeal

to all of us

oh flotsy junk
and lotsam large
the worst has sunk
just like a barge

of oily sponge
tsunami mommy
adding grunge

i so do wish
if I were fish

lotsam flotsam
I would expunge

I was waiting for a subway. I saw trash on the tracks. I thought of the ocean. We are all part of the ocean. (2013)