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The Elf Poem

Nine Not Very Golden Rules for Children Who Like to Write Poetry


elf poem cover

This delightful guide to writing and reading poems will appeal to children of all ages with charming drawings by Jeanne Clark Meinke and wise and winking elfish verse by Florida’s Poet Laureate, Peter Meinke. As the Elf advises:

So when you write, write carefully,
    With gaiety and grace,
For when you write a lovely poem
    The world's a better place.

Lucky Bones

Peter Meinke moves fluidly through free and formal shapes, taking the reader on a tour through America in the 21st century: family, politics, love, war and peace, old age and death are looked at in ways that are surprising, clear, and warm-hearted. Lit by flashes of anger and laughter as he surveys his territory from the vantage point of old age, the poems are, in the end, both sane and profound, set to Meinke’s own music.

lucky bones cover

"This is the kind of poetry that does not blush at joy. And, to be frank, the kind of poetry that we all could use more of... 'Lucky Bones' takes a close look at what it means to start growing old, then walks off laughing.”
                                                  - Coal Hill Review


Truth and Affection:
The ‘Poet’s Notebook’ Columns
From Creative Loafing

Truth and Affection cover

A collection of columns that have appeared in Creative Loafing over a period of more than six years.

As David Warner writes in his foreword, it “is difficult to define, a tasty bouillabaisse of poetry, politics, and personal essay . . . winning hearts and minds of all ages . . . and a few awards along the way.”

Order online through UT Press:     Paperback

Illustrated by Jeanne Meinke.

Foreward by David Warner.

Lines from Wildwood Lane

Named for the location of the artist’s charming home on Wildwood Lane in the Driftwood area of St. Petersburg, Florida, Lines from Wildwood Lane brings together some seventy-three drawings, in five sections and more than a hundred pages, with an introduction by her husband, poet Peter Meinke.

Lines from Neuchatel cover

The collection is available in paperback—or as a handcrafted hardback, signed by the artist and bound by David Barry (Griffin Bindery, St. Petersburg) with dark green quarter-linen spine and French marbled papers. It will be treasured addition to your coffeetable, bookcase, easy chair, or nightstand.

Order online through the University of Tampa Press:

Hardback (signed)              Paperback

Lines from Neuchatel

On July 1, 2009, the University of Tampa Press published a handsome 35th Anniversary Edition of "Lines from Neuchatel," Peter Meinke's 1974 chapbook, beautifully illustrated by his wife Jeanne. With new poems and drawings added, the UT Press has published this in both paperback and hardcover.

View featured poem and drawing.

View featured poem.

Lines from Neuchatel cover

It received the 2009 Award of Excellence (their highest award) from the Southeastern Library Association.

Order online through the University of Tampa Press:

Hardback (signed)              Paperback

Printable UT Press flyer and order form.

Order directly through author.

The Shape Of Poetry
The Shape of Poetry: A Practical Guide to Writing Poetry

“To the end, Meinke’s prose is marked by poise, lucidity, and humanity . . . Meinke offers students of poetry pragmatic strategies for experiencing the sublime as they write poems.”
             - Poet Melanie Almeder

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UT Press
Unheard Music
Unheard Music

Unheard Music is the best collection of stories I’ve read in years. The writing . . . cuts quick and deep . . .”

- Novelist and poet
James W. Hall

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The Contracted World
The Contracted World: New & More Selected Poems

“All the things I respect about poetry are in the book:  wonderful wording, craft, ideas, wisdom, sensitivity, compassion . . .”             - Poet Cliff Fetters

Buy from: U. of Pitt. Press
Amazon B&N
The Piano Tuner
The Piano Tuner

Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the LSU/Southern Review Award (1986).

“His deviant talent lies in making palpable the implausible, in suggesting — sometimes whispering, sometimes shouting — things gone awry that we’d never counted on having to put in order.”                 - Writer Stephen Woodham

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Mapples and Orange Trees
Maples and Orange Trees

Bilingual, Russian & English, illustrated by Jeanne Meinke; small hardcover (4 ½  x  6).

“He does what Shelley tells us the great poet must:  Lift the veil from the familiar to show us what is really there.”
                   - Poet Luisa Igloria

Available through author.

Greatest Hits
    Greatest Hits, 1964-2000

Chapbook,   12    poems    with Introduction by the author.

When I was young I longed for scars
like my father’s    They were the best
scars on the block  startling  varied
pink as a tongue against his whiskey skin
                                        (from “Scars”)

      Available through author.


“[These poems] say truth, and they say it with rue, wit, shapeliness, a wonderful hand on the keyboard of metaphor.”

- Poet Alicia Ostriker

Buy from: U. of Pitt. Press
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Zinc Fingers
Zinc Fingers

2001 Southeast Booksellers Association Award for “Best Book of Poetry of the Year”.

“Zinc Fingers is Peter Meinke’s solid voice at its most recklessly passionate pitch, framed by the eloquent syntax of its silences.”
            -  Poet Dionisio Martinez

Buy from: U. of Pitt. Press
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Winner  of   the  1996  Sow’s  Ear               Chapbook  Contest;  illustrated  by                      Jeanne Meinke.

O that my tongue were younger
and I could sing A granddaughter
is a wren in an old man’s tree
but instead I shall hold your perfect hand
mispronouncing   Will you write many letters?        Here is the spoon   The doctor cannot swim
                                  (from “Learning Italian”)

       Available through author.

Liquid Paper
Liquid Paper:  New & Selected Poems

“The threats beneath attractive surfaces and the uncertain security of the outwardly contented are topics rarely treated in poems as healthy as Meinke’s; his voice is knowledgeable and reassuring.”
                   - Poet Henry Taylor

Buy from: U. of Pitt. Press
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Night Watch On the Chesapeake
Night Watch on the Chesapeake

“He is especially adept at building to a strong ending or the ending that shies the poem into an unexpected but perfect place.   He also has the most endearing kind of humor, the ability to laugh at himself.”
     - Poet Judith Hemschemeyer

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Trying to Surprise God
Trying to Surprise God

“An entertaining book [which] exists in a world where reality is a disgruntled invalid nursed by Whimsey and Tenderness while being constantly surprised by a troupe of vaudevillians playing pranks.”
                 - Poet Edward Field

Buy from: U. of Pitt. Press

The Night Train and the Golden Bird


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Barnes and Noble

U. of Pittsburgh Press


night train cover

Although The Night Train and the Golden Bird is Peter Meinke’s first poetry collection, it is a seasoned performance—the result of careful deliberation and mature judgment—yet impetuous and exciting. It’s full of wit and humor tempered with the sadness of approaching middle-age, anguish over political and social injustice, and of the very failings of everyday people and their lives.

Copyright © 2015 Peter Meinke