Poet Laureate

Holcomb_2   Holcomb_1


J. Paul Holcomb is currently serving his second term as the Lewisville Poet Laureate.  He will retain that title for another two years.  Holcomb will continue his efforts to create original works to commemorate special occasions and to lead in community programs. 

During his first term as Poet Laureate, he wrote several original works including commemoration of Lewisville’s 90th and 91st birthdays. For the dedication ceremony of Wayne Ferguson Plaza in Old Town, Holcomb reflected upon the plaza as it relates to the city, “It gives citizens of Lewisville the opportunity to relax and visit, to reflect with pride among the trees and the fountains on what our city was and what our city has become.”

Holcomb, now a resident of Double Oak, lived for many years in Lewisville where he and his wife raised their family and were LHS Farmer parents. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Holcomb worked in the telecommunications industry for most of his career. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics from McMurry College (now University) in Abilene and did additional studies in English Literature at Syracuse University and the University of North Texas. He also holds a Masters of Applied Science in Computer Science from Southern Methodist University.

Holcomb has been a member of the Poetry Society of Texas since 1984 and served as president of the organization from 1999 until 2002. He was a founding member of the Denton Poets Assembly and has mentored many North Texas poets. He has published 235 of his poems to date, with his work appearing in The Texas Poetry Calendar, Windhover, Ilya’s Honey, Concho River Review and in Poetry Society of Texas prize-winning anthologies, among other outlets. He was the featured State Poet at the Austin International Poetry Festival in 2013. 

Mr. Holcomb will serve a two-year term and will receive a $500 stipend for each year.

Samples of poetry by J. Paul Holcomb
(for Sue Ann)

If I revive from my death
to find myself reincarnated
as an asteroid,
I shall streak through the skies
leaving trails of my being
hanging the heavens,
spelling your name.

And if after I die I return
as the rings of Saturn,
I will undrape that planet
and search the galaxy
looking for the heavenly body
that represents
your resurrection.

And if at eternity’s end
our universe collapses
into some colossal black hole,
I will drape your presence
as we are pulled
lovingly into the vacuum,
together to oblivion.  

Daughter, when you sing
the clear notes dance
into my thoughts and caress
my ego. When the spotlight
announces your presence
I remember my visions,
a father’s fantasy
of blue-skied tomorrows.

I dreamed of Little League
and ballgames and giving advice,
and then you were here
and we danced
and we tumbled
and we toyed
with dolls and soccer
and spelling bees.

You took my dreams
and changed them
from a masculine fantasy \to a reality of you—
a reality not anticipated
but reality bursting
with reaching and finding.
And never am I reaching farther
and finding more than
when I hear you sing. 

If I sit in the cane chair
next to our case
that displays the Sharps Rifle,
and if I read from journals
next to an old family Bible,
and then if I close my eyes
I can see buffalo
running beard after shaggy beard
through tall grass
like horizontal oak trunks with legs.
And if I cause my mind’s eye to squint
I can see sun reflecting
off scores of Sharps Rifles pointed
over the walls of Fort Griffin.

If you drive east from Anson,
on Highway 180,
you approach Albany
by driving down a hill
you think better suited
for a different place.
Who would expect a descent
like this east of Abiline,
west of fort Worth?
But you drive down
and you wonder why buffalo
came this way, moving in herds
that numbered thousands,
thundering plains,
navigating occasional hills,
looking for more prairie grass
and full stomachs
so they would have strength
to reach Fort Griffin
and murdering buffalo rifles.

After the missile crisis
the young man was assigned
to infiltrate, meet the Cubans
speak the language, become part of the society.
And he did until deception was no longer possible
and his talking stopped.
He returned to West Texas
to stay in the bunkhouse with the range hands
and focus his gaze on the spurs
that jangled from the cowboys’ boots.

In the evening the young man
would open the bunkhouse window
though nights were beginning to turn cool
and the range hands objected.
He lay beneath that window every night
From November to March
And slowly regained his smile,
Hesitantly turned his eyes
Toward other people.
He began to speak.

It was the windmill that saved him,
not the water it pumped
nor the breeze that drove it,
but the clank of loose blades,
the squeak of worn gears:
the comforting, never-stopping sounds
that droned into a Texas sky rising up
from the ground uninterrupted by trees,
sounds that spoke his language
and told him he was home. 

For more information on the Poet Laureate program program contact Melinda Camp, MCL Grand Manager, 972.219.8478.