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Chip Dameron

Welcome   You can read about the books I’ve published, click on links to order those in print, as well as browse sample poems.


Bio   During the more than 40 years that I’ve been writing poems, I’ve worked as a business editor, English professor, and college administrator. Now I’m writing full time. I'm a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and serve on the board of the Writers' League of Texas.    


On Poetry   The powerful thing about making a poem is the immersion into the materials: physical landscape, language, relationships, culture, psyche, imagination, and memory. Out of this mix of the personal cosmos, a poet can fabricate a small world, and if it is done well, it may interest others, even garner their rapt attention. Much of the pleasure of poetry, as Robert Frost once said, is that “every poem is a momentary stay against the confusion of the world.” The external world recedes, and the internal world spins out its verbal creation, and for the time that this is happening, nothing else matters. For me, as the writer, that is satisfaction enough. For the reader, that may be satisfaction enough too.

Latest Book: Mornings with Dobie's Ghost

Sample Poems

            SAMPLE POEMS            






The Novelist and the Storyteller


I’ll give McMurtry credit for what

he’s done with all those stories—


he’s a real novelist, knows how

to get inside his men and women,


create a world that pulls a reader

in and on, like a long winter dream.


Hell, I knew he was a writer when

he reviewed Henry Miller in college.


His potshots at me were pretty easy

to get off, after I was gone, and


some of his bullets were on the mark—

I found my anecdotage could get


tedious, too—but I wasn’t a novelist,

I was a storyteller, taking tales


from far and near, open campfire

or some old cowboy’s living room,


and shaping them on the page,

giving them as much of the grit


and texture of the Brush Country

or West Texas desert as I could,


yarns and folk tales and ghost stories,

gifts received and passed on, and


maybe ol’ Larry, older now than I

ever was, owes me a small thanks


for pointing toward the longhorns

and mustangs and turning him loose.


     – from Mornings with Dobie's Ghost

Drifting down the Yangtze River


Last night as we passed the lights

of houseboats docked along the bank,


the way dark as a carp’s gullet

and humming with cold harmonies,


I looked hard for Li Bai and his lantern

floating mid-river, waiting for the moon


to emerge from the clouds, waiting

for me to climb aboard with a bottle


of jiu so we could tell each other

poems in our disparate tongues, laughs


bouncing off the rumpled hillsides

and waking up the authorities,


those tiresome scolds who have forgotten

the night songs their parents once sang.


     – from China Sketchbook



Grandfather Oak


I’ll bet if Buddha

had been a Texan


he might have picked

this live oak, older


than the Republic,

have sat right under


the missing limb,

others reaching out


toward enlightenment.

What he might have


known as nirvana

through chigger bite


itching is a koan

ripe for meditation.


   – from At Paisano Ranch



Mathematics of Meaning


He got so caught

in his tangle

of angles


that he couldn’t

keep from growing

more obtuse


as he spoke

in circles

about triangles


and every hypotenuse

in the room

missed his point.


     – from Drinking from the River



Visit to Wolf House


Despite posted warnings, no rattlesnakes

sine waved across the dirt path leading

to Jack London’s folly, stones stacked

around imagined rooms, a glorious ruin

with a weed-choked reflecting pool

in a dry country far from the wet gums

of the sea. The real story of the walk

on the way in was the woman coming

down a hill alongside her two kids

and mother, grinning in the sunlight,

stabbing the earth with her walking stick

as she flung a leg up and out and down,

bound to finish the mile-and-a-half round trip

to the house and grave, her palsy no bar

to her joy and the day of her joy.


     – from Waiting for an Etcher




You’d think at fifty I might know

something about the way a car engine

works, or might want to know.

Gas and sparking, pistons, compression.

The guy thing, or Pirsig’s balance

between cruising and carburation. I tried

to tune my Beetle years ago, pull at

the belts, follow electrical wires.

It didn’t take. One of my college

students tells me he hates poems.

He can’t make them make sense.

I tell him he’ll have to read poems

to pass this course and get

a degree. Maybe he can learn

how to get behind the wheel,

start the poem up, and find

an image that can take him on

down the road, leaving the buzzards

to spiral along the refried roads,

waiting for heat strokes or road

kills, shimmering with symbolism.


     – from Tropical Green



Toward Home


      The day

still dark, the rustling wind

and a lone dog’s bark

so clear I can hear them,

nearly, sounds I’d like

to scrape from the trunk

of a tree and stuff into

my pockets, sure to want

them should the buzzing get


                    The dashboard

glows like a clouded moon.

Beyond the wheel, everything

out there takes its broken

bearing, fixed in this web

of correspondence.

                                Like boys

going home from night fishing,

flashlights bobbing, my car

takes the park road over

to the highway. I look

both ways and just go,

no matter left or right,

up a hill and straight

toward the bluing day,

ready to come round

a bend and be there,

light in the window, food

and coffee going, taking

hold of flesh that burns

and heals, both, like tar

on an old patched road,

bubbling in the sun.


     – from Greatest Hits



Relay Man


                 Somebody drives

the ball through the gap in left

center, and the shortstop drifts

beyond the infield’s arc, waiting

for the left or center fielder

to run the ball down and fling it

toward him.

                     On the fly or off

a hop, no matter, the thing’s

to time the swing back home,

turning and whipping a hard

overhand to the plate, where

the runner from first cannot slide

out of his pending doom, ball

buried in a leather web, ending

the inning.

                   At short you live

to make the pivot, you trust

your arm to get it right, this

humming toward home, and lordy

do you let it fly.


     – from Hook & Bloodline

Place of Alphabets


            Who knows

how we came to be

awake in this place

of alphabets, where

the Ts provide a bit

of shade and the Rs

all rush downhill,

searching for an S

and the promise

of plurality.


your eyes and listen

to the clock deep

in your vowels, where

tick and tock tell

it all.

          The air

is for stringing

a song, the wind

is for twisting it

around the contours

of our lives, where

we sort through

the endless crackle

of consonants.


     – from Night Spiders, Morning Milk, Definition of Hours



Picasso’s Corrida [7.2.1957]


The impeccable strokes

of a Zen masterpiece. . .

the stark congruity

of a Rorschach blot. . .

bull, horse, and picador,

exploding with energy. . .

the lance, sinking

into the bull’s back,

impales the picador;

the rearing horse,

catalyst in this confrontation,

will get its belly slashed.

Nothing remains unbloodied,

nothing remains safe

in the heat of the corrida,

in the terrible black ink

of blood, froth, and sweat

that gives the snow-white page

its frozen beauty.


     – from In the Magnetic Arena



Click to Read

May 22, 2017

June 11, 2017

Aug 24, 2017      Interview by John Cook

                            Good Books Radio



Jan 28

Art Opening and Reading

With Steven Schroeder and Chera Hammons

  Chalice Abbey, Amarillo, TX  6:00 p.m.

Feb 17

Reading at Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Assn and American Culture Assn Annual Meeting

  Hyatt Regency Hotel, Albuquerque, NM  4:45 p.m.

Mar 25

An Hour in Spring: Reading

With Gene Novogrodsky, Ruth Wagner, Beto Conde, Ana Hinojosa, Jose Alvarez 

Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, Brownsville, TX  7:00 p.m.

May 20

Texas Weather Anthology: Reading and Book Signing

With Jan Seale, David Bowles, Katie Hoerth, and Cesar de Leon

Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 4005 N. 10th Street, McAllen, TX  2:00 p.m.

Sept 7        Langdon Review Weekend: Reading

                          Langdon Cultural and Educational Center, Granbury, TX 2:30 p.m.

Sept 14      A Literary Evening: Reading and Book Signing

                  With Michael Putegnat and Wayne Moore

                                Brownsville Historical Museum, Brownsville, TX  6:00 p.m.


Feb 24      Reading at People's Poetry Festival 

                                Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX  12:15 p.m. 

    May 5      Weaving the Terrain Anthology: Reading

                                        Malvern Books, Austin, TX  3:00 p.m.

Sept 1       Launch date for new book: Mornings with Dobie's Ghost

   Sept 6       Langdon Review Weekend: Reading

                            Langdon Cultural and Educational Center, Granbury, TX 11:20 a.m.

   Sept 25      Reading and Book Signing

                     With Jim LaVilla-Havelin

                                   The Twig Bookstore, San Antonio, TX   6:30 p.m.

Sept 30      Reading and Book Signing

                  With Lowell Mick White

                                Malvern Books, Austin, TX   1:00 p.m.

Nov 3        Georgetown Literary Festival Reading 

                  With contributors to Texas Poetry Calendar 2019

                                Georgetown Public Library, Georgetown, TX   1:00 p.m.

Dec 8        Texas Poetry Calendar 2019 Anthology: Reading

                                    Malvern Books, Austin, TX  4:00 p.m.

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