Ad Astra Per Aspera
Any art can be decorative or enriching. The best examples are often both. In my art, poetry, I strive for an honesty of vision and language that can be understood by the average educated person as well as the person with a specialized education. My poetry is often inspired by local geography, including the birds and wildlife, the roads and rivers, of the Pioneer Valley, but also by the vistas of the Grand Canyon, the monuments of Rome, but always by the heart searching for understanding and meaning in an often meaningless world.
is the author of the poetry books: The Night Watches, Destiny’s Calendar, and Until There Is Nothing Left (Ridgeway Press & The Writers Voice, 2003), along with ten chapbooks. 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, Connecticut Poetry Review, English Journal, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry, Poetry East, Sanctuary, Wild Earth, Yankee and Tears in the Fence (UK), along with the recent anthologies Proposing on Brooklyn Bridge (Grayson, 2003) and Visiting Frost: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Robert Frost (U-Iowa 2005). He is the editor, publisher, and printer of Adastra Press, which specializes in hand crafted chapbooks of poetry. He is a past recipient of the Massachusetts Fellowship in Poetry. He recently retired after 31 years teaching high school English, but currently teaches writing at Springfield College. He lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
About his Destiny’s Calendar (1985) poet-critic Robert Peters wrote: “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.”
Laurel Speer said of his long poem Seven Stones for Seven Poems (1990)
“Gary Metras has come up with all the traits that make the jaded reviewer sit up and say, ‘this one must be talked about’. The poetry is lyrical, descriptive, original and arresting.”
Virginia Quarterly Review wrote of his long poem, Seagull Beach (1995), “The book’s feel, heft, and contents are an evocative experience.”
Praise for his recent book, Until There Is Nothing Left, includes: “Metras’ poems are filled with phrases that want to touch and be felt. They testify. Metras is an unpretentious writer who keeps company with readers. In fact, he’s good company. His voice is direct, simple, uncomplaining and democratic”—Daily Hampshire Gazette. And “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”—Larry Smith, Small Press Review.
First book of poems, Roses in Lyric Light, 1974
Established Adastra Press 1979
Mass. Felowship in Poetry 1984
Thirteenth book of poems, Until There Is Nothing Left, 2003