“Curtailed Sonnet” by James B. Nicola

James B. Nicola


He closed his eyes when I asked him to
but I couldn’t then, we were so young. So

we didn’t kiss. And he never knew
it had crossed my mind. Now he’ll never know.

Nor thought I fifty years ago
that I’d be giving his eulogy.



How odd and sweet our friendship grew
to be: bittersweet, for me.

from Rattle #53, Fall 2016
Tribute to Adjuncts


James B. Nicola: “Intermittent stints as adjunct at colleges and universities have provided periods of pause and reflection from my professional freelance career in the theater and eventually gave rise to my becoming a poet. Here’s how. I was flabbergasted and flattered when a few University of Montana seniors pointed out to me that some of the choice things I had said to them as freshmen in 1987 had been posted by students on the departmental call board—and were still there in 1991 (when I was full-time sabbatical replacement)! The notion of teaching through axioms gave shape to my book, Playing the Audience: The Practical Actor’s Guide to Live Performance. With all its revisions, the book turned me into something of a writer. In 2000 I directed at my alma mater, Yale. There I had been a music major and tickled the ivories every morning before breakfast to plunk out some new tune; the habit was not unlike an addiction. But with no access to a piano this time around, the songwriting compulsion morphed into poetry.” (web)

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