GUEST POST - Ron Gavalik: The Eternal Search for Truth
I could just tell you about how Ron Gavalik is a poet, but that would not come anywhere close to being the actual truth. As a writer, I respect other writers and always sort of respected poets. In general, though, I always kept poets at arm's length. Until I met Ron.
Ron's poetry hits me in the gut the way other poets don't. I envision whiskey/bourbon-soaked bars in the mean streets of Pittsburgh when I read his work. I envision a steel town with large men in hard hats, drinking, smoking and talking about real things. So, I had to ask Ron to be a guest blogger on my site and he graciously agreed.
Without further bluster, here's Ron discussing his work and his latest collections of poetry.
Reading poetry is the most intimate literary adventure. Unlike social entertainment mediums such as film and sporting events - poetry is the carnal melding between two minds: poet and reader. In its rawest form, poetry is guts. As a free verse poet, it's my role to explore and reveal the unique perspectives that broaden our understanding of the world. That eternal search for truth in the dark forest of false prophets has been my life’s pursuit.
Before I continue with this article about my work, I must thank Bryan Alaspa for inviting me here. Bryan is a reader and a social media friend of several years. I absolutely adore each of my readers more than they will ever know. They are as important to me as lovers or family. Without them, I am nothing.
In the introduction of my first poetry collection, Hot Metal Tonic, I discuss how readers of experimental works must shrug off the conformity of industry standards to face the truths and perspectives presented by avant-garde authors. After that brief preamble, each poem is then mainlined directly into the reader’s emotional center. The works in that book have been described as the raw, molten forms of love and hatred, personal struggle, and whiskey-laced madness.
I was shocked when Hot Metal Tonic went #1 in its poetry category on Amazon that first week. What I didn’t realize was the great desire for visceral personal truth in literature. Unfortunately, the mainstream publishing industry has always struggled to present gritty honesty in their crusade for financial success.
The reason for my raw, gritty style is based on a tumultuous upbringing. Raised by hard-boiled Catholic trade unionists in the Rust Belt of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, my poetry is a smooth and uninhibited reflection of the once gritty region. In total freedom, I bleed untamed language onto each page to capture the powerful moments of life. My words paint portraits of the hidden beauty that’s often lost within the madness of our struggles.
You can taste some of my work for free on my website, PittsburghPoet.com.
A few years after Hot Metal Tonic and after a lifetime of observing life on the streets of Pittsburgh, I assembled my second collection, titled Sidewalks. I penned the works in that book during the turbulent couple of years after my mother prematurely grew ill and passed away. I wanted to give people my perspective of the desperation I witnessed upon the city’s sidewalks through a misty lens of sorrow as I grappled with the emotions associated with loss.
A year later, I completed Slag River Sins. That collection was penned for one reason: to illustrate the confessions of an imperfect life and bring to light the harsh truths of lost love, gluttonous hungers, loathing, and violence. Often drunk on bourbon, I forced myself to sculpt my deepest regrets into free verse that readers could identify with their own experiences. Writing those poems was a journey of self-healing to be certain, but I knew my readers would use those words to confront their own demons and grow their internal power.
I took some time off after releasing and promoting Slag River Sins. I moved, spent some time with loved ones, and reexamined the direction of my work. As time passed, I found myself handwriting verse about the plights of the poor and the working class. Over the course of a year, those works grew more passionate and moralistic. I’d rediscovered my blue-collar roots and compared the struggles of my parents and grandparents to the modern realities of American life.
I then assembled the best of those pieces for Gothic Riot Dreams. The free verse in that collection represents the beauty that lives within the struggle of working men and women who never know if they’re going to make it. Although that book is part observational and part experiential, my readers consider it be a hot-blooded collection of personal truths. The poetry reveals our fears and regrets, the small joys of life, and the perpetual sadness inside each of us. If Slag River Sins represented the madness of transgressions, Gothic Riot Dreams portrays the madness of our working lives.
Okay…I’ve been discussing a lot in this article, and I should stop typing. I just want to add one more item before I go.
Because of who I am and the deep connections of my work, the TRUE readers who materially support me can be easily recognized for their courage in romantic relationships, parenthood, their careers, or other aspects of life. These people exude a sense quiet dignity and integrity. They identify with the pursuit of truth. In short, I attract readers who have the guts to absorb my work. If you’re reading this and shy away from the work, there is no shame. Not everyone has what it takes to confront the mirror.
With that said, if you choose to delve into my poetry, all I ask is that you prepare yourself to laugh, think, cry, and rejoice. You and I are about to embark on a quest of self-discovery. Along the journey, we will face many sins in battle with our demons. We will also explore the virtues that make our hearts beat a little stronger and our dreams taste a little sweeter.
If you’re ready, grasp my hand, and we will stumble along this treacherous path together.
Check out all of Ron's work at the links above and at Amazon.