ABOUT PETAL RIDGE
"Petal Ridge" was a name I came up with in 2017, for a patch of pickerel weed and lotuses in Forest Hill Park where the lake insects liked to perch. I had just begun taking photographs. I coined it for a hybrid prose poem/photography sequence called "Zoom Lens."
I am first and foremost a writer, but my site name signals my ambition to work equally seriously as a photographer.
You can read a few sections of "Zoom Lens" in the PIC LIT section, under the POTPOURRI tab.
PLACES TO GO, PATHS TO PERUSE:
site navigation tips
What we have here is a multi-purpose site.
I am (for instance) a poet, a photographer, a playwright, a performer, and a puzzle master.
There are arts I practice seriously, and there are pursuits at which I play.
So this site contains, or will eventually contain: (1) a professional sector; (2) an amusement park; (3) an archive.
(1) The three tabs after this one, POETRY, PHOTOGRAPHY, and PLAYHOUSE are where I promote and publicize my PROFESSIONAL work. If that's what you came here for, you are advised to head straight there. Elsewhere, there be potholes!
(2) The "Potpourri" heading, breaks into further subcategories, such as "Pic Lit," "Prose pieces," and "Publications" (a list of the journals, etc, which have published some of my shorter work).
(3) In the Playground I kick back a bit more, though there is considerable overlap. For instance: "Party Pieces" features my light verse writing, but some light verse work may also show up under "Pic Lit." "Performance" will contains links to any online post of me reading or performing that I can find—and in most of those, I'll be presenting serious work. "Puzzle Palace" is an ambitious part of the site, and one I intend to keep building and updating—please check it out! And "Projects" may prove to be the least predictable tab of them all. I'll share unfinished follies. I'll plead for the assistance of collaborators: as illustrators, as composers, even as co-writers.
(4) By all means, visit the Past Glories section and browse the archives. You may find it to be more of a storage space than a display area, though. "Parlez-vous" will warehouse materials from my career as a French teacher: song lyrics, comic sketches, translated short plays, etc. In the "Prose archives" and the "Poetry archives" I'll eventually collect all the previously published work I have no plans to republish. I'll probably toss in some never published work which still intrigues me, but that I don't expect to put out in a book.
Which leaves this page (the "Portal") and the "Pnews" section, which are for Practical Matters. They are my welcome center and my help desk. On both pages, there's a "Ping me" link you can use to contact me. In "Pnews," I'll announce any new site posts, and I'll tell you what's going on right now in my professional world: publications, press, planned appearances, and so on. As news becomes old news, I'll delete some items, and archive others under the subheading "pnews crevés." (This is a bilingual pun. I like puns.)
Derek's writing and (more recently) some of his visual art have appeared in scores of publications from Fiction International to Rolling Stone. He has also worked professionally in theater, principally as an actor. His recent written word books include the winning entry in the inaugural 2018 poetry chapbook contest offered by the Irish journal Blue Nib, and the 2019 play The Play of Gilgamesh. His 2021 poetry collection Mutt Spirituals is published by San Francisco Bay Press.
After retiring from teaching he took up photography, so that he also has some publicly available books where he combines photography and writing: most notably, 2021's Unsay Their Names. For much more about Unsay Their Names, his poetry, his plays, and his passion projects, please hit the relevant tabs.