Hollaway debuts new poetry

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 7:30am

When Steve Hollaway became the pastor at Harbor Church, there was a little clause in his contract that stipulated he could take a two-month sabbatical if and when he reached seven years on the job.

It snuck up on him, and when he realized he had reached the milestone, he and his wife Becca took some time to plan for eight weeks in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico, for what Hollaway called a “writing sabbatical.”

He set an ambitious goal for himself: five poems a week, which then turned into a poem a day. (“I couldn’t have done it if I had had a job!” he said.) Hollaway will be presenting some of the fruits of these labors on Friday, April 7, at Harbor Church for an evening of “Poems of the Southwest.” There will be a light supper at 6:30 p.m., followed by the reading at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Before he left, Hollaway enlisted two writing coaches, a former pastor who left the calling to become a poet, and a friend from college who is a published poet. Hollaway met with them to plan out the sabbatical.

“I’d work in the mornings, and then take in some culture in the evenings. I would stay up and write and work, and do some reading,” he said. Hollaway chose New Mexico because “it’s a very spiritual area” and Santa Fe and Taos both have a large artistic community. Hollaway found that the desert surroundings began to inform his work, and realized that he was developing a southwestern theme.

He hopes to turn the 42 poems into a book some day, and looks forward to retirement next year (after 40 years of preaching) as an opportunity to work more on his craft.