About John J.Ronan                                     

John J. Ronan is a  poet, playwright, movie producer, and journalist.  He has received national honors for his poetry and was named a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow for 1999-2000.  In 2009 John published a new book of poems, Marrowbone Lane.  He is also a former poet laureate of Gloucester, MA, and remains committed to the importance of civic poetry, as in “The Lesson,” below.  (On John’s regard for Gloucester, see his op-ed pieces from the Boston Herald.)  Also a playwright, his works include The Yeats Game and The Tease of Eden.  A pioneer in electronic publishing, in 2002 he introduced Damned If I Dotage, a humorous e-book on the trials of turning 50.

John  is also the founder of the media production company American Storyboard, a teacher of film, an award-winning children’s author, and host of the TV talk show The Writer’s Block with John Ronan which celebrates its 26th anniversary in the 2015-16 season.

Courtesy Jake Payne and Jessica Bryan

Courtesy Jake Payne and Jessica Bryan

Ronan lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, with his wife, Sandy, and memories of their adopted Wyoming dog, Cowboy.


The Lesson

The Newtown kids weren’t thinking of Aurora or Tucson,

They had not pledged themselves to weapons, and being kids

Could never remember Blacksburg, Columbine, Binghamton.

The earnest boys and girls of first grade

Weren’t linking patriotism to firepower and stripper clips,

Nor Christmas to domestic terror, cowardice, Congress –

Hadn’t learned the rhetoric of re-election and leadership,

Nor yet had alphabet enough to fathom madness.

Hands over their hearts, the kid-citizens

Called out justice, allegiance, republic,

The lofty thoughts of American civic prayer

Made a persuading faith by the pitch of children:

Simple witness and common sense, a mix

Of law and love, indivisible communion on a dare. 

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Box 5524

Gloucester, MA  01930

Copyright (c) 2016 by John J. Ronan