Dan Seaman

Dan Seaman AZpoetry.com

Dan Seaman: The Poet of Prescott

Longtime Prescott resident Dan Seaman’s poetry has been described as “romantic realism,” a term that captures his poignant exploration of love, loss, and the human experience. His work is deeply rooted in the everyday struggles and triumphs of the working class, reflecting his profound empathy and understanding of their lives. “I have always lived my life as simply as I could and with a yearning for the common person’s struggle, world vision and sensibility because, in my view, it is the most grounded and real,” says Dan, encapsulating the essence of his poetic vision.

Early Life and Inspiration

Dan Seaman’s journey into the world of poetry began in his early years, shaped by a series of diverse and challenging life experiences. His employment history is rich with manual labor roles, providing him with a unique perspective on the lives of working people. “My skills, training, and aptitude have given me a respectful point of view of the working man, having been one so often,” Dan notes. This firsthand experience is a cornerstone of his poetry, imbuing his work with authenticity and a deep sense of compassion.

Life in Prescott

Dan has called Prescott, Arizona his home since 1970, a time when the town was a far cry from the bustling community it is today. “When I moved here, the town was only accessible from two-lane roads, there were only three TV channels, and the radio stations went off the air at 10pm,” he recalls. Despite its modest size, Prescott became the backdrop for Dan’s rich poetic life, fostering a vibrant literary community that he helped to cultivate and grow.

Contributions to Prescott’s Poetry Scene

Dan’s involvement in the local poetry scene began earnestly in 1997 when he started hosting open mics at the Full Moon Café. This marked the beginning of his long association with local poetry venues and his commitment to creating platforms for poets to share their work. From these humble beginnings, he went on to found the Prescott Area Poets Association (PAPA), also known as Poetry As Performance Art. For the next ten years, Dan hosted readings in various locations around downtown Prescott, culminating at the MAD Linguist in the old McCormick Arts District.

Under Dan’s leadership, Prescott became known for its lively poetry scene, attracting strong poets and performers from across the country. In 2001, Dan and other organizers established a statewide slam-poetry competition at Arcosanti, which ran for seven successful years. The Prescott team won the inaugural Arcosanti Slab City Poetry Slam, competing against nationally ranked teams. “I tend to immerse myself in projects, and PAPA was one of the best things in my life. I lived and breathed poetry and public performance for ten years,” Dan reflects.

Performance Poetry and Fire-Dance

Dan’s natural talent as a performer extends beyond poetry. His first experience reading poems in public was overwhelming, yet it shaped his approach to creating welcoming and supportive venues for other poets. “I forgot to exhale completely, my hands were shaking holding the papers, and my knees felt like they were going to give out at any moment,” he recalls. This experience fueled his commitment to easing the anxiety of first-time performers, ensuring that his venues were friendly and inviting for both new and veteran poets.

In addition to poetry, Dan has embraced fire-dance performance and production, staging shows on the streets of Prescott and other venues. This creative outlet adds another layer to his multifaceted artistic persona, showcasing his versatility and passion for performance art.

The Craft of Poetry

For Dan, poetry is deeply intertwined with life experience. “All my poems are reality-based dives into momentary epiphany. The things I’ve done, the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met and loved (and hated) are the very core of my poetry,” he explains. His process of writing is organic and varied; some poems come to him quickly, while others take years to fully develop. “I’ve written poems two minutes after an experience, or I can be (subconsciously) stewing over something for years. Then I’ll see, or hear, or smell something, and the opening line will force itself out of me like a repeating lyric.”

Dan’s poetic breakthroughs are often unexpected and spontaneous. “I’m not looking for them, they just happen. I call it ‘riding the deadman’s pocket’ in reference to the many thousands of hours I’ve traveled on motorcycles, where there are things that come at you unexpectedly from your peripheral vision,” he says. This metaphor captures the serendipitous nature of his creative process, where inspiration can strike at any moment.

Poetic Philosophy and Purpose

Dan’s poetry is not just a personal endeavor; it carries a universal purpose. “I want to say I get catharsis from writing, but I don’t. If I get anything out of it, I get clarity,” he explains. His goal is to give a voice to others who may be experiencing similar emotions or situations. “I desire to give a sounding voice for others who may be experiencing something similar to what I’ve written, letting them know we are all in this and most of us don’t have it figured out either. So relax, breathe and learn.”

Legacy and Impact

Throughout his decades-long career, Dan Seaman has made an indelible mark on the poetry community in Prescott and beyond. His dedication to the craft, his support for fellow poets, and his ability to capture the essence of human experience in his work have earned him a respected place in the world of contemporary poetry. His legacy is one of compassion, authenticity, and a deep connection to the lives of everyday people.

Dan’s contributions to the cultural fabric of Prescott have not only elevated the local poetry scene but also inspired countless individuals to explore their own creative potentials. As he continues to write, perform, and engage with the community, Dan Seaman remains a beacon of poetic expression and a testament to the power of words to connect, heal, and inspire.

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