Book Review: What Now?

front cover for What Now book

What Now? by Dean Tongue

While the poet of this collection wears a mask, he opens up his heart here. As the book’s prelude states, he believes expressing himself in “raw honesty.” And that’s what you get in these poems.

The book is split into three Acts, which chronicle his emotions during different parts of his life. He describes a journey within himself, a transformation. This is an intense journey.

In the beginning, Dean Tongue talks about difficulties with addiction, mental health, anger. These poems can make for uncomfortable reading. They aren’t poems about roses, more about how the bush is littered with thorns and the flowers are out of reach.

The poems describe Dean’s struggle with the demon, with one poem titled, “Dean Vs. Demon.” The demon is a powerful opponent, and by reading the poems you get a sense of Dean’s endurance to fight it.

Then an ally arrives, and with her a lift. A lifeline. Love. That love summons added strength to push down the demon and keep him down. The poems in the third Act are the sunrise after a long night’s battle. I could almost feel the sun on my face, and I certainly felt the surge of hope. After reading this book, I’m very glad that Dean found love and hope.

Contest Results

The contest I ran to give away 6 signed copies of my poetry book, The Dancing Fish, was underwhelming. To enter, folks drew an underwater creature and posted it on Twitter or Instagram. Only 2 entries were submitted. So they automatically won! I’ll mail the book to these brave artists 🙂

The remaining 4 books will be placed in Little Libraries around my neighborhood. I was going to do that with some books anyway, as I love the idea of people walking by and gazing into a Little Library and hopefully discovering the book.

I’m glad I tried the contest as an experiment to encourage people to draw. Just a little something different while we’re being very cautious about spending time in public because of Covid-19.

Stay tuned, as I’m going to announce a new giveaway on Monday. This time, you won’t have to draw anything. I’m simplifying the process by giving away ebooks. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

The Number Eight Debate

drawing of people arguing, and the number 8 is lying on its side

Don’t be late
for the big debate
about the number eight.

Some people (like Nate)
think eight is great.
They say:
“How could you count from seven to nine
if eight isn’t waiting in line?”
Other people think that eight is a bore,
and they much prefer the number four.
They say:
“Just count number four twice.
Wouldn’t that work just as nice?”

Both sides argued back and forth,
past one hour, past two hours, even morth.
But who’s wrong and who’s right?
It’s not for me to pick a winner of this fight.

As the argument grew into a tizzy,
the number eight became weary.
So he lay on his side and became infinity.

Copyright © 2020 Dave Williams. Included in my book, The Dancing Fish.

Contest Reminder

stack of Dancing Fish books

This is a reminder of the contest I’m running, where I’m giving away 6 signed paperback copies of my poetry book, The Dancing Fish. The contest ends this Friday, January 29.

Entering is easy! Just draw an underwater creature, then post an image of it on Twitter or Instagram. You can draw a swordfish or shark, an octopus or jellyfish. The medium is up to you: pencil, paint, or digital artwork. And the style is up to you: silly or serious, realistic or abstract.

Then tag your post with #DancingFishContest and include me, @dwilliamswriter, to be sure that I see your post. You don’t have to follow my Twitter or Instagram account to enter the contest, but jump on board if you like!

Some questions you might have:

How are the winners chosen?
At random. Here’s how it’s going to play out: As the entries come in, I will write your name on a note and put it in a bowl. On Saturday, January 30, each of my two daughters will cover their eyes and pick out three names. I’ll announce the winning entries on my Twitter and Instagram pages.

Can I enter multiple times?
Yes. So the more drawings you post, the more notes with your name will be placed in the bowl.

Is there an age restriction to enter?
Nope. If you’re 1 year old and finger-paint a fish on paper, then a parent or guardian can upload an image of the artwork. (By the way, if you’re 1 year old, congrats on being able to read this!)

I don’t live in the United States. Can I still enter?
You bet! It would be neat to see foreign entries. I will ship books to international winners.

How will entrants know if they’ve won?
I will contact the winners through direct message on Twitter or Instagram, wherever they posted their image. I will ask for your name and address, so I can sign and send the book to you. The books will be shipped by USPS media mail. If you don’t hear from me on January 30, you can figure that you haven’t won.

I’m looking forward to seeing your artwork of underwater creatures!

The Stream Walks


The stream walks, talks,
rushes, gushes,
tumbles, mumbles,
curves, turves,
gargles, bargles,
pauses to see
an overhanging

And the stream
soothes and
smoothes the
stones that
yearn to
roll on and on
and see each and every
perch and nook
of this wild world,
circumrolling the globe
many times over,
just to make sure
everything was seen—
then finally resting on
a mountain peak
to gaze upon
the grand vista.

Copyright © 2020 Dave Williams. Included in my book, The Dancing Fish.

Viking Life

viking illustration

On the day I joined the Vikings,
we decided to take a break
from conquering
and we feasted instead.
For 9 out of 10 Vikings will agree
that feasting is more fun than conquering.
There’s more mead to go around,
you won’t get seasick in a storm,
the music can be quite good,
and the only chance of injury
is if you steal Ornoff the Grumpy’s
leg of mutton
and he finds out it was you.

Copyright © 2020 Dave Williams. Included in my book, The Dancing Fish.

Popcorn Tree

drawing of tree that's growing popcorn

I saw a movie last night,
munched a big bowl of popcorn.
and saved one kernel under my pillow.
Is that bad?
Please don’t scorn the corn
I saved for the morn.
’Cause I’m gonna plant it.
Yup, plant it in the earthy dirt,
cover it up with more dirt,
water it every day,
then wait and wait and wait

and wait.

There! Didyouseethat?
A little sprout,
a light green baby sprout jutting out.
Then it grows
big bigger
I measure it every day like when I stand against the wall
on my birthdays
and a new line marks how much I’m tall.
My popcorn plant grows into a tree,
now it’s much much taller than me.

Buds appear on the branches,
and when the sunlight gets good and hot,
the kernel buds explode
like firecrackers
into fluffy popcorn.
The most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted!

My parents buy land out in the country
and we plant lots and lots of kernels.
They grow into a popcorn orchard,
one… two… three…
a hundred twenty trees!
Now I get to eat all the popcorn I want,
and people drive from miles around
to eat as much as they please
from our magnificent popcorn trees.

Copyright © 2020 Dave Williams. Included in my book, The Dancing Fish.