Karl Elder Presents Original Piece “Phobophobia”


Karl Elder, Lakeland professor, presented his original work “Phobophobia” at the John Esch Library. “Phobophobia” is collection of original poems previously published in 1987.  

This collection of poems is considered by many to be one of Karl’s most creative and original pieces of work. Karl commented on this, “I took to heart that people called this piece inventive cause it is what I thought as well. Of course, there are other books that follow the alphabetic principles. It took me a while to say whatever and order them alphabetically. I think the glossary is the biggest part of making it inventive. The concept of the book itself is what makes it so unique; you do not usually see one with a lexicon.” 

“There is a long stretch of time between this piece and older works. So, I do not know if they are comparing how inventive it is to other works that came before or after it. Maybe most people have not seen my other pieces.” Karl said. 

Taking some time between poems, Karl stopped to shed some light on the influence and inspiration for his work.  You know I have been thinking about it. I said that there was an image that I had, a scene that I thought was worth capturing. I meant to say that I had an image that was of a child holding a flashlight in his mouth, and you could see the light through his cheeks. How do I capture that? So, I thought I could put him in a closet, and it naturally formed into something related to claustrophobia. I wrote that poem and had so much fun with it; I thought why don’t I write another poem about another phobia.’” 

During the presentation, Karl read about half a dozen poems from the collection. When asked how he chose which poems to feature, Karl said, “Well, it was not easy … I looked through the poems, which in some cases are 45 to 50 years old, and I reread them. As I was preparing the manuscript, I just had some favorite ones in mind. At some point, I got tired of picking my favorites and looked at the glossary and picked what I thought other people would like.” 

Karl continued, “Maybe I had 11 or 12 poems, and I misjudged how much time I had between, so I did not get to read all of them … Most writers have standard readings that they think the audience expects them to read. This time I thought why don’t read things that I might not ordinarily read.”  

Karl thanks those who attended the event and listened to his poetry. Karl Elders original work “Phobophobia” among other pieces such as, “A man in pieces,” “Gilgamesh at the Bellagio,” and “Earth as it is in heaven” are available for purchase on Amazon.com