The lyric poems in Beyond That Field of Wildflowers are divided into several sections: The Good Little Soldier,” “Beneath the Vast and Silent Sky,” “Innocent Exultation,” and “Beyond That Valley of Wildflowers.” Though they grow increasingly personal, all the poems are part of the author’s physical and spiritual journey through a complex life spanning the Beats through the present and ending, as the poems show, in peace. These poems are both exquisitely crafted and accessible to every reader in a deeply personal way.
Gary Blankenburg was a fixture on the Baltimore arts scene for more than four decades. As a teacher at local high schools, colleges, and universities, he shared his love of literature and creative writing and inspired and mentored numerous students who have gone on to their own successful careers as writers and editors. Beginning in 1984, he authored eight collections of poetry and fiction, including most recently Above All Things (BrickHouse Books, 2015). That volume also featured some of Gary’s art, reflecting the joy he found in drawing and painting. For many years, Gary edited poetry columns in local papers and organized poetry reading series in the Baltimore area. He served as a founding editor of The Maryland Poetry Review and Electric Press. In 2018, he began the manuscript for Beyond That Valley of Wildflowers, intending that it would be his last publication. Gary passed away on August 22, 2020 at the age of 79, leaving this book as his final gift to all of us.