Frederick-born author publishes second book of nature-inspired poetry | Elders

Growing up crashing into the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains and paddling in the Monocacy River, Robert Miss said he cultivated a deep appreciation for nature.

Even today, at the age of 83, certain memories of his childhood in Frédéric remain indelibly etched in his memory. He can see the layers of clay lining the banks of the creek near his home, and he can remember the feel of a dirt road underfoot.

These are some of the experiences he suspects of making him a poet.

“When you’re outside, you take your time,” he said. “Time sort of stops… I think that makes you very thoughtful.”

Miss had her second book of poetry, “Prospero’s Glove,” published by Kelsay Books in May, and her memories of her childhood in Frederick County are scattered throughout its pages.

The writer grew up on North Market Street and attended parish and high schools in St. John’s. He wrote his first poem in second grade. His mother saved him – unbeknownst to him – and he got him back a few years before his death. This is his dog Spot.

Now a resident of upstate New York, Miss remembers fondly the years spent exploring the woods around her family’s cabin near the Monocacy. Plus, an aunt and uncle lived on Shookstown Road near Gambrill State Park, so there was no shortage of adventures.

Miss had a happy childhood, he said, filled with hunting, fishing, camping and swimming. Although not typically a nostalgic person, he finds joy in revisiting his beginnings through poetry.

“I like to come back to experiences that were whole experiences, where there is a lot of joy involved,” he said.

In “Amulets of Memory”, Miss recounts pushing a boat down Linganore Creek with her father “in the light of day, wading in the night” and digging for bass. “Our Island Goddess Hitanacha” is an ode to a small island near the mouth of the Monocacy, not far from Furnace Ford Bridge on Route 28. He personifies the “silt mound” and ruminates on his role as a child.

“I’m visiting him now at my fall age,” he wrote. “She’s smaller than she remembered, / But the old rage against the sky / Stays in her outstretched branches.”

After leaving Frederick to attend Fordham University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Miss returned in 1980 and accepted a position as executive director of the Weinberg Center. He only stayed for a year. His goal was to get the center out of debt, he said, and he succeeded by restructuring the price of his tickets and bringing in shows from a dinner show in Washington, DC.

The work was a natural consequence of his longstanding affinity for art, he said. He later became a marketing and consulting professional, although his love had always been for poetry.

But despite years of experience – Miss confidently said “he’s always been a writer” – he still works largely in spurts. The poems that make up “The Glove of Prospero” have been written over many years, and they “run the gamut” of style, length and subject, he said.

“I’m not prolific,” he wrote in an email. “I don’t sit down every day (sic) to write a poem. What happens is that an intuition, a thought or a feeling comes over me. And as a temporary addiction, I have to write it down version after version until I feel and see that the poem is finished. I erase everything until it’s finished. A bomb might fall next to me and I would continue to write.

Now Miss has grandchildren scattered across the country, and only one cousin remains in Frederick. He doesn’t come often to visit, he says. And as they get older, the former marathon runner and lumberjack enthusiast finds it increasingly difficult to stay active and outdoors.

But he plans to continue writing poems inspired by the connection to the outdoors he forged as a young boy in the woods of Frederick County.

“Most of my poems are organic,” he wrote. “I cultivate them. I can’t pretend that I totally understand everything about them. I just write them down.

“Le Gant de Prospero” is available on Amazon.com.

Frédéric’s childhood is indelibly engraved in his mind. He can see the layers of clay lining the banks of the creek near his home, and he can remember the feel of a dirt road underfoot.

These are some of the experiences he suspects of making him a poet.

“When you’re outside, you take your time,” he said. “Time sort of stops… I think that makes you very thoughtful.”

Miss published her second book of poetry, “Prospero’s Glove,” in May of this year, and her memories of her childhood in Frederick County are scattered throughout its pages.

The writer grew up on North Market Street and attended parish and high schools in St. John’s. He wrote his first poem in second grade. His mother saved him – unbeknownst to him – and he got him back a few years before his death. It’s about her dog, Spot.

Now a resident of upstate New York, Miss remembers fondly the years spent exploring the woods around her family’s cabin near the Monocacy. Plus, an aunt and uncle lived on Shookstown Road near Gambrill Mountain, so there was no shortage of adventures.

Miss had a happy childhood, he said, filled with hunting, fishing, camping and swimming. Although not typically a nostalgic person, he finds joy in revisiting his beginnings through poetry.

“I like to come back to experiences that were whole experiences, where there is a lot of joy involved,” he said.

In “Amulets of Memory”, Miss recounts pushing a boat down Linganore Creek with her father “in the light of day, wading in the night” and digging for bass. “Our Island Goddess Hitanacha” is an ode to a small island near the mouth of the Monocacy, not far from Furnace Ford Bridge on Route 28. He personifies the “silt mound” and ruminates on his role as a child.

“I’m visiting him now at my fall age,” he wrote. “She’s smaller than she remembered, / But the old rage against the sky / Stays in her outstretched branches.”

After leaving Frederick to attend Fordham University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Miss returned in 1980 and accepted a position as executive director of the Weinberg Center. He only stayed for a year. His goal was to get the center out of debt, he said, and he succeeded by restructuring the price of his tickets and bringing in shows from a dinner show in Washington, DC.

The work was a natural consequence of his longstanding affinity for art, he said. He later became a marketing and consulting professional, although his love had always been for poetry.

But despite years of experience – Miss confidently says “he’s always been a writer” – he still works largely in spurts. The poems that make up “The Glove of Prospero” have been written over many years, and they “run the gamut” of style, length and subject, he said.

“I’m not prolific,” he wrote in an email. “I don’t sit down every day to write a poem. What happens is that an intuition, a thought or a feeling comes over me. And as a temporary addiction, I have to write it down version after version until I feel and see that the poem is finished. I erase everything until it’s finished. A bomb might fall next to me and I would continue to write.

Now Miss has grandchildren scattered across the country, and only one cousin remains in Frederick. He doesn’t come often to visit, he says. And as they get older, the former marathon runner and lumberjack enthusiast finds it increasingly difficult to stay active and outdoors.

But he plans to continue writing poems inspired by the connection to the outdoors he forged as a young boy in the woods of Frederick County.

“Most of my poems are organic,” he wrote. “I cultivate them. I can’t pretend that I totally understand everything about them. I just write them down.

“Le Gant de Prospero” is available on Amazon.com.

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