Coffee and a Laptop: What other superpowers do you need?

Posted by in Caffeinated Contemplations, Poetic Inspiration

Peter Liptak with coffee and laptop in Swakopmund, Namibia 2009

On Beginnings

Eleventh grade exposed me to an altogether different breed of educator; a man named Jon Rondesvedt, who bursting with enthusiasm for history, philosophy and the classics, issued us a challenge: turn in a typical paper or compose a poem. A daring dyslexic, I accepted…He beamed at my first foray, while his endless wonderawakened in me thatinescapable enthusiasm for the written word, thatlove of travel,and thatpassion forteaching

Wanderlust came early in my imaginings, but a singular poem by Langston Hughes stirred my spirit to action. It was Dream Variation and much as Hughes had done in 1923, I struck out that summer, discovered languages and unexpected inspiration in unfamiliar cultures and odd little towns of Europe, found work in Freiberg, made my way to Matala…and found words in the languid stretch of sand, the leap from caved cliffs and that single demitasse of fine, unfiltered Greek coffee that was my respite each day. Since then, poetry has been my urge and my ache, my aspiration, my identity

On Exile and Experience

Having earned my street cred in university as a preschool teacher, waiter, massage therapist, dishwasher & dance instructor, I determined that teaching was my ticket to the world, finished a TEFL certificate and moved abroad. 20 years as an expat has taught me much about language and about life.I found in Seoul a source of inspiration, linguistic and otherwise, and completed an MA in Korean Studies, exploringitshistory and poetry, while acting, teaching, copywriting and publishing through Exile Press. 

As a traveler, I bring a catalog of stories to share; as a translator and sometime linguist, an outsiders understanding of the beauty and complexities of the English language;as a teacher, understanding of the classroom dynamic and an ability to inspire students;and as a publisher and constant creator, some real-world experience in the business of books. It is my hope that theseexperiences willallow me to contribute to the program and to my peers. Returningfrom self-imposed exile for a new journey of discovery-to poetry, to home, I’m excited by the prospect of penningnew projects.

On Poetry

Is poetry in the mind or in the heart? A journey of verse should take us somewhere unknown and yet somehow familiar, on a walk through the dark heart of words to the edge of truth, to the verge of vexation then back again, toa place newfound and fresh. Subscribingto the idea that,as Thoreau put it, “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live,” I went out and experience the world. Now, combining thoseexperiences and a willingness totear down and rebuild my composition skills, makes this the time to begin. 

Though my workis largely lyrical, as an essentially self-taught poet, I tend to ramble and overreach inalliteration. I hopeto simplify and to uncover truths that will resonatewith readers from more experienced poets and fresh-minded peers,and to strengthen my narrative sense. 

Eager to immerse myself in a community of like-minded creators, I hope to help foster more interaction between writers, designers and even animators, by interweaving poetry with art and multimedia to reach those who otherwise might shrink away from the idea of poems on a page. Bringing poetry to the masses is something that I believe is far more achievable than most reckon.

Feel free to contact me to collaborate peter@exilepress()com