Retired IBM manager publishes poetry book

Mike Powers never intended to publish any of the over 300 poems he had written after retiring  from IBM 18 years ago.

But, like any artist, all Powers needed was the proper motivation.

He received that push last year on his birthday from his son, John, who collected his father’s poems and bound them together to create the first draft of what would become Michael’s Musings — a 130-page book of poetry and prose that was published earlier this year.

“It was the surprise of my life, because I had a fantasy of publishing a book someday, but it was going to be forever a fantasy,” Powers said. “I always have so many things going on, and so many things to do, and a house to take care of, and the kids and grandkids nearby, and it was just a lot of work. I did communications work when I was in IBM, and I knew what kind of effort it took to produce a publication.”

One word Powers used to describe his poetry was “candid.”

His poems span a large variety of topics.

“It’s a family-friendly book,” he said. “Some poems, like ‘Remember When,’ look back in time, but I don't consider them historical. Some of my poems, like ‘The Hill of Life,’ are traditional poetry. For the most part, my poems are straightforward, but a few, like ‘The Golden Days,’ have a twist.”

Evoking memories

He also drew inspiration from his life and his family.

“There are autobiographical poems like ‘College Capers’ and ‘Fun Times in my Youth,’ and there are the biographical poems like the ones about my parents and sister,” Powers said.

“People relate to some of the poems,” he said. “One lady brought the book for me to autograph, and I asked her what she liked about it. And she said that one of the things was that I brought her to places she had already been, such as The Villages [in Florida]. She read the poems, and it brought back the memories.”

The process

His favorite piece is titled ‘A Dozen Red Roses,’ which he revealed was dedicated to his wife, though it was not specified in the book.

Whenever he has the idea for a new poem, Powers writes it in his notebook first, before transferring it to the computer.

“Writing the poems is a hobby,” he said of the creative process. “But at the same time, I get a lot of satisfaction from doing it — especially when I finish a long poem, like the biographical poems of my parents.”

Michael’s Musings can be found for $22.00 at The book is also sold in-store at Books on the Common.