Nine years of life summed
up in 69 pages
City of Pewaukee man gives life some perspective
in new book of poetry
By RYAN AMUNDSON - TimeOut Editor
December 21, 2005
Poet Tom Rohe
CITY OF PEWAUKEE - An everyday event spurred on
a not-so-everyday decision for one City of Pewaukee attorney about
a year and a half ago.
"I was driving to work in April of Ô04 and it
dawned on me that I had all this poetry sitting in my basement,"
said Tom Rohe, who practices law in a Milwaukee firm. "I had about
300 poems in my basement. Forty-three of those poems turned out
to be publishable."
And more than a year later, the idea Rohe had
while on a commute to work has turned into "Rebel," a 69-page book
of poetry he wrote between the ages of 17 and 26.
Just as the title of the book indicates, the theme
strung through the compilation is one of youthful rebellion.
"During this period in my life, I was always rebelling
against something," he said in the preface of his new book.
The inspiration for the poetry grew out of many
areas - his years as an undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,
his years as a law school student at Duke University in Durham,
N.C., and the environment he grew up in - his parents owned a campground
near Green Bay during Rohe's formative years, and many of his thoughts
and experiences from those times are laid out in the book.
"I spent summers at the campground until I was
19," he said. "Through that experience, I developed a great appreciation
for nature. I met different people every weekend. Meeting all those
people I got to appreciate a wide range of the human experience.
... It opened up my mind in a couple of ways."
As the second youngest of five children, some
of the rebellion Rohe felt, and many of the experiences he wrote
about, grew from his family experience.
"I had three older brothers, one older sister
and one younger brother," he said. "To a certain extent, my brothers
and sisters singled me out."
As one would expect from poetry written by someone
coming of age, "Rebel" deals with everything from love, sex and
partying to rebelling against organized religion, popular culture
and political philosophy. It tracks the thought process of a poet
questioning almost all aspects of life.