V.B. Price has been writing poetry for the last 46 years. He began publishing in small magazines in 1962. He has published eight books of poetry. His recent work addresses historical events, such as the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq, and mythological themes, which appear in his latest book Mythwaking: The Homeric Hymns, a Modern Sequel. He serves as editor of the University of New Mexico Press's Mary Burritt Christensen Poetry Series.Broken and Reset

The Introduction below is from
Broken and Reset: Selected Poems,
1966 to 2006
,
published by UNM Press remote
in the Summer of 2007:

Broken and Reset is a selection of poems written over the last 40 years while I was making my living as a reporter, columnist, nonfiction writer, editor, novelist and teacher. Both making poems and making a living have allowed me to pursue my real occupation of trying to repair my ignorance. I’m a working class writer, and partial autodidact who was saved from a life of sordid tedium, and maybe even madness and crime, by believing I could evolve from my feral childhood and civilize myself by learning to read, write, and think. This basic faith in learning came to me from the progressive and pragmatic heart of American culture. Luck has been my friend too. I was given a choice to move to New Mexico to go to school when I was l8. And I took it. I can’t imagine who I would be if I hadn’t.

I studied anthropology, English, and philosophy and literature at the University of New Mexico, and realized that even though I would always be unprepared to be a formal scholar, I could become a collector – of ideas, of information about how the world works, of other people’s writing, of rocks, shells, history, books and art, and of the kind of experience that only poetry and reporting, and reading where your curiosity takes you, can offer.

I won’t glorify my standoffishness by calling myself an outsider, but I am a stubborn character, anti-social when it comes to being influenced, eccentric in the sense of needing to be utterly free, while well disguised in normalcy, and a believer in the ordinary genius of everyone. The great learning experiences of my life have come to me from my dissatisfaction with being in the dark, with not having read and studied what I assumed every well-educated person should have, and from my interest in the history, natural environment and cultures of New Mexico. Like most autodidacts, I am friend-taught, learning almost as much from conversation as from reading. Always a late bloomer, when I was given the chance to teach in the University of New Mexico Honors program in l986, my learning curve accelerated as it never had before. I discovered Hermes and Odysseus again as an adult. I was instructed by Thucydides in the corruption of power and given hope by Artemis and Aphrodite. I became interested in politics as a teenager because Aldous Huxley and George Orwell made it clear to me that free people are constantly in danger of being gulled by political predators who prey on our weaknesses, laziness and fear. Poetry attracted me then, as well, because it seemed fearless and at odds with authority. And even though I wasn’t sure what a metaphor was, I think I could sense, without the words to describe it, that poets could help me heal myself as a stutterer and panicked recluse. I’ve always had the impulse to hold strong opinions. I tend to like people who have the same leaning. I’ve written a newspaper column on politics and the environment every week, sometimes three times a week, since l971. I have learned more by having to witness the world, and then defend a point of view about it, than I could have learned any other way.

The title Broken and Reset comes from not only being lucky enough to have escaped the crippling traps of my childhood but also the decadent mainstream of modern America and the conformity that in-groups and gatekeepers require. The fractures of my early life didn’t heal properly in Los Angeles where I was raised. I had to break the faulty mends and reset them in New Mexico. I dreamed myself up in Albuquerque. I found language to be the perfect instrument for me to practice. And I have, from time to time, felt Orpheus’s shadow pass across the page, allowing me to see intimations of my better self.

– V.B. Price
Albuquerque, New Mexico, June, 2005