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Denis M. Garrison

Denis M. Garrison


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Denis M. Garrison was born in rural northern Iowa in 1946. His family and philosophical roots are in black dirt country. He has lived all over the United States, several years in Asia, in North Africa, and in Europe. He received his early schooling in Tokyo, Japan and in Sukiran and Naha, Okinawa. He later served in Okinawa and in Taiwan while in the Air Force, and aboard the USS Ranger in Viet Nam and North Korea while in the Navy. He has worn many hats in a varied life: sailor, airman, mechanic, electrician, debt collector, sporting goods salesman, quality control technician, boiler-room operator, bureaucrat, small businessman, priest, poet, editor and publisher. A lifelong photographer and a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography, Denis was the first photographer admitted to the Maryland Federation of Artists, with a B&W portfolio. A Marylander since 1960, and retired from government, Garrison worked full time at writing, editing, and publishing (Modern English Tanka Press / MET Press) from 2005 until he closed the press in 2014. Garrison now lives near Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay with his lovely wife, Deborah, and devotes his full time to writing.


A 1974 university graduate in English Literature from Towson, where he edited the literary magazine and chaired the Towson English Association, Denis taught creative writing for Johns Hopkins University’s Free University. Garrison’s work has been printed in May Dazed, Moonset, Nisqually Delta Review, Poetry Scotland, Poets Gone Wild, Ribbons, Wisteria, Talisman, Amaze: The Cinquain Journal, Haiku Harvest, In Buddha’s Temple, Nightingale, and Templar Phoenix Literary Review, and published online in A Field of Flowers, Autumn Leaves, Catholic Planet, East Village Poetry, Full Moon, Gunpowder River Poetry, Haiga Online, Haiku Cycles, Haiku Noir, Ku Nouveau, Lynx, Photo Haiku Gallery, Poetic Table of the Elements, Poetic Voices, Poetry in the Light, Roadrunner, Rustlings of the Wind, Saijiki-X, See Haiku Here: Digital Haiga Gallery, Simply Haiku, Stirring, The Poet’s Porch, The Writer’s Hood, Verse Libre Quarterly, WaterBlossoms, Wild Poetry Eliot Hyperpoem, World Haiku Association, World Haiku Review, and others.

Garrison had published several poems and short stories, as well as an essay on dichotomies in the modern novel, before the 1975 self-publication of his poetry chapbook, Port of Call and Other Poems (1975). He has published five full-length books of poetry: Eight Shades of Blue (haiku, 2005), Hidden River (haiku, 2006), Sailor in the Rain and Other Poems (2007), Fire Blossoms: The Birth of Haiku Noir (2008), and First Winter Rain: Selected Tanka from 2006-2010 (2010). He has edited the journals, Modern English Tanka, Concise Delight Magazine of Short Poetry, Ambrosia: Journal of Fine Haiku, Modern Haiga, Haiku Harvest, Ku Nouveau, Haiku Noir, Templar Phoenix, Haiku Cycles, Gunpowder River Poetry, Amaze: The Cinquain Journal, and Loch Raven Review. Together with Michael McClintock, Garrison has edited the new wave tanka anthologies, The Five-Hole Flute, The Dreaming Room, Landfall, and Streetlights. Garrison also edited the Ash Moon Anthology (tanka on aging) together with Alexis Rotella.

Garrison has created three new poetic forms. The cinqku and crystalline haiku analogues have become popular forms for innovative tanka and haiku poets. The nautilus has a mathematical basis. Garrison’s poem, “Nautilus,” the prototype and namesake of the form (which is comprised of a Golden Mean stanza bracketed by ascending and descending Fibonacci sequences), has been included in an academic text, Discovering Patterns in Mathematics and Poetry. (Internationale Forschungen Zur Allgemeinen & Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft), ISBN 978-9042023703, by Marcia Birken & Anne C. Coon, faculty members at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

Garrison has served as a judge for poetry contests, especially cinquain and tanka contests.


Garrison has published a great many nonfiction items about national health insurance. He also compiled and published the first comprehensive set of Orthodox Old Roman Rite service books and several related books, and edited a denominational newsletter for more than a decade. He earned his doctorate in theology from St. Ephrem’s Institute for Eastern Christianity Studies in Solna, Sweden for his religious writings.


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