Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Gary Metras is the author of the poetry books: The Night Watches, Destiny’s Calendar, and Until There Is Nothing Left (Ridgeway Press, 2003), along with eleven chapbooks, most recently, Greatest Hits 1980-2006 (Pudding House, 2007). His poems, essays and reviews have appeared in such journals as The American Voice, Another Chicago Magazine, The Bellingham Review, The Boston Review of Books, California Quarterly, Connecticut Poetry Review, English Journal, New England Watershed, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry, Poetry East, Sanctuary, Wild Earth, Yankee, and Tears in the Fence (UK), along with the recent anthologies Birth, Living Frost (Iowa 2002, 2005), and Proposing on Brooklyn Bridge (Grayson, 2003).
Metras is a past recipient of the Massachusetts Fellowship in Poetry. Virginia Quarterly Review wrote of his long poem, Seagull Beach, “The book’s feel, heft, and contents are an evocative experience.” About his chapbook on teaching, Today’s Lesson, NEA Today [journal of the National Education Association] had written, “Who would have guessed that an ordinary school day can inspire extraordinary lyrical moments?....In [the title poem] “Today’s Lesson,” the simple question, ‘Can a good man do evil?’ leads readers into the magic connection between students and teacher and between Metras and his reader.” And the critic-poet, Robert Peters, in reviewing Destiny’s Calendar, said, “Metras writes moving meditations on our lives, and on his own. His language is direct and unpretentious. His music has a full and faultless sound....In almost every poem there is a surprising passage of insight....Metras is an authentic, unpretentious moving voice. These are poems to read aloud, linger over, and share with friends.” And Small Press Review said of Until There Is Nothing Left: “Metras is writing a mytho-poetry here of stones and bridges, water and our bodies, the outer and inner places, the landscapes of mind and heart....Again and again, the poet goes through the threshold of the daily into the aware life that lies somewhere beyond words yet is rendered in the poem.”
Gary Metras is the editor, publisher, and printer of Adastra Press, which specializes in hand crafted chapbooks of poetry. Adastra publishes 2-5 titles a year and has released 77 titles from 47 poets around the country. In reviewing several Adastra titles last year, the American Book Review said, “As long as fine literary presses continue to handcraft handsome books like these from Adastra, serious readers of the twenty-first century can rest assured, the book is alive and well.” And Contemporary Poetry Review, the online journal, has chosen Adastra as Publisher of the Year 2006 (July 2007). He has read his poems at bars, book stores, colleges and universities, including Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Sarah Lawrence College, University of Detroit, and Kent State University. A native of Chicopee, Massachusetts, he has worked as a store clerk, tobacco picker, short order cook, hod carrier, air traffic controller (U. S. Air Force 1966-1970), book store manager, and high school English teacher. He holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Goddard College. When not busy writing, printing, or fly fishing (he is on the board of directors of the Pioneer Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited), Metras teaches writing at Springfield College and lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts.