News regarding the poet John Stupp

December 4th, 2019




John Stupp





…..I have had the privilege of publishing John Stupp’s poetry for several years now.  Every time he gifts me with an email stuffed with submissions, I eagerly open it like a kid unwrapping the shiniest package under the tree.  His creativity is really, honestly, that special.

…..John has a remarkable ability to clearly command his reader’s attention with wit, wisdom, perception, and character.   His work is consistently filled with the grit and richness of his beloved Pittsburgh — its scenic (and sordid) environs, its economic hardship, and its cultural significance.  He admires hard work, worshiping the likes of steel workers, guitarists, boxers, and the every day Major-Leaguer who wasn’t quite the superstar.

…..His most effective poetry is written simply, yet evokes complex feelings.  For example, like this one:


The Ride Home

He must
have been separated
from a herd of boys
thus he was lost
in his early ‘20’s
blue jeans and an old J & L mill jacket
from Goodwill
in the old days this bus went to Aliquippa
Henry Mancini’s home town
but not now
he tried out several seats
as we left Pittsburgh
but nothing satisfied
then scratched his legs
over and over until they bled
this went on for miles
to him it didn’t matter if the sun was out or not
it wasn’t
it didn’t matter if we made steel anymore or not
we don’t
it didn’t matter if there were good jobs left in this valley
there weren’t
when the driver put him off
I saw how he kept walking behind the bus
getting smaller and smaller
I thought
all day there was snow on the Ohio River
and the storm clouds were low
but not now
because God was watching over him and not us




…..And try this one, which combines his love for jazz and his dog, enveloped in a lively, endearing wit:


I Tell Him it’s OK

My dog
is a jazz dog
after listening to Tal Farlow
and Eddie Costa
he is not much impressed with my playing
keeps looking at his watch
until I finish
after a couple hours
when I put the guitar down
he jumps on my lap
and loves my silent hands



…..John has informed me that his fourth book of poetry, When Billy Conn Fought Fritzie Zivic, is being published by Red Flag Poetry Press, and will be available in January. The publisher’s website says that John’s book “tells the story of boxing in its pre-television days between the First and Second World Wars and into the 1950’s through poetry. Men like Harry Greb, Billy Conn, and Fritzie Zivic, and the steel city of Pittsburgh come alive in these pages. Poetry is as much history and deeds, as truth and beauty. Remember when Pittsburgh was a tough town? This is it.”

…..This is indeed a book worthy of your consideration.   For information, including how to order it, click here.












John Stupp’s third poetry collection.Pawleys Island.was published in 2017. His manuscript.Summer Job.won the 2017 Cathy Smith Bowers Poetry Prize and was published in August 2018.  From 1975-1985 he worked professionally as a mediocre jazz guitarist.  He lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.







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3 comments on “News regarding the poet John Stupp”

  1. I am most pleased to read Mr. Maita’s supportive words for John Stupp’s new chapbook. I have had the good fortune to read the chapbook in its manuscript form and can attest to its excellence. The book is filled with the interesting characters, command of everyday lexicon, and insight into the psychology of everyday people that make Mr. Stupp’s work always worth reading. If you like sports, if you like poetry about people struggling and working to survive, if you appreciate a writer with a good ear for everyday speech, you should get a copy of Mr. Stupp’s new book. You will be pleased with your purchase. The book is lively, musical in its rhythms and word choices, and displays great empathy for the average joe’s battles to overcome the daily vicissitudes of life. You will also learn a lot about the history of boxing.

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