Mark Metcalf

On states, herons and clove cigarettes

By - Aug 12th, 2010 04:00 am

B.J. Best had no intention of becoming a poet, much less making it his bread-and-butter profession. The Wisconsin native graduated with a degree in actuarial science from Drake University and left college intent on pursuing a career in the highly lucrative field, despite hints from his senior year poetry professor that he might want to consider a different path.

Less than a year later, Best took that professor’s advice. He received his MFA in poetry shortly afterward and currently teaches at Carroll University in Waukesha. He is the author and publisher of several poetry anthologies and chap books whose lyrical sonnets and neatly organized tercets explore themes of nature, geography, science and human socialization in his work.

He jokes that he is still a mathematician at heart, but poetry is his undeniable passion.

On this week’s edition of Backstage, B.J. and Mark discuss a mathematician’s approach to poetry, the romance of travel and meandering off the straight and narrow to follow an entirely different path.

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