Local poet offers answers in ‘The Search for the Reason Why’

Tiffany Ciesicki

Local Poet Tom Kryss recently released his largest collection of poetry, titled The Search for the Reason Why. The book features cover art from his daughter, Hilary, a Kent State student. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOTTOM DOG PRESS

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Tom Kryss has been writing poetry since he was a teenager.

Born in Cleveland, he began publishing in 1966 and recently released The Search for the Reason Why, his largest collection published to date.

After traveling between Cleveland and the West Coast several times, he now resides in Ravenna.

The Search for the Reason Why is a collection of poems that go back as far as 1970. The poems are a catalog of moments in Kyrss’ life that he decided to capture, as well as historic moments of the times, such as the demolish of the Berlin Wall.

Kryss said he takes his inspiration from anything no matter how big or small.

“Whatever happens to light the fire,” he said.

The book contains poems with many different subjects.

The title was chosen based on music by jazz musician Roland Kirk, and the poems in this collection were chosen keeping variety in mind. Kryss said he wanted to make sure most of the poems were written about different things ranging from a remembrance of his friend and fellow poet D.A. Levy to recalling a single moment standing along the Cuyahoga River.

Throughout the years his wife has provided illustrations for the covers of his books. For this book however, his daughter Hilary Krzywkowski, a student at Kent State, drew the illustration on the cover.

Kryss said since Hilary was a little girl he was stealing her drawings and slipping them into his publications wherever possible, as she was a talented artist even then.

Hilary attended the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2002, concentrating in studio art. However, she said she transferred to Kent State in 2003 looking for a more eclectic learning experience.

She soon found her way into the English program because of her love for writing. Though Krzywkowski and her father share the same love for writing and poetry, she said her passion was not influenced by her father, though it does strengthen their relationship.

“To be honest, although our passions for poetry remain separate, we share our visions merely as friends, and as parent and child,” she said. “I always thought of our relationship through poetry as my father’s way of showing me support and guidance.”

The Search for the Reason Why

Written by Tom Kryss

Published by Bottom Dog Press

Available at Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry Road in Cleveland or can also be ordered online at www.members.aol.com/Lsmithdog/bottomdog.

Neither Krzywkowski nor her father actually consider themselves poets, Krzywkowski said. Kryss said when he reads his own poems he has a new interpretation of them each time as if he was reading someone else’s work.

“Once the poems are written they become of little interest to the person who writes them,” he said.

Krzywkowski said sometimes her father’s poems are like answers to her.

“Answers to a particular moment in my life that in passing we share in either a hasty five minute phone-call or an awkward conversation late at night,” she said.

Moments and experiences in life shape a person and Krzywkowski said she and her father write as a reaction.

“(We write) as a way for something painful in us to release,” Krzywkowski said. “Not all poets write from a place of hurt, but we do. The skeptic would say that pain is nothing more than a negative drawback on the path to enlightenment but we say through pain can we truly see the open door. Poetry is the act of passing through that door, the acknowledgment.”

Krzywkowski has recently begun to establish her own press, Grey Sparrow. She has been releasing her own chapbooks, which are small pamphlets containing poems or stories, through Grey Sparrow. Though poetry will be taking a backseat as she is soon leaving to study in Israel, Krzywkowski said she will continue to publish from there.

Contact ALL correspondent Tiffany Ciesicki at [email protected].