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ISBN: 978-1-937627-21-8

The Letter I


poems by Dennis Rhodes

In his first two books, Spiritus Pizza and Entering Dennis, poet Dennis Rhodes trained his singular voice and keen eye on the challenges of coming of age in a world overshadowed, if not defined, by HIV. His subjects were people and places on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and fabled Commercial Street in Provincetown. A long-time survivor of HIV (25 years), Rhodes wrote with urgency, wit, and caprice, struggling to find his place in a tenuous culture of medical and political advances. Rudy Kikel, longtime arts editor of Boston’s Bay Windows, pronounced Rhodes a “poet’s poet.” In his work as literary editor of Body Positive magazine and as host of Poets Corner on P’town’s WOMR-FM, Dennis Rhodes championed a dazzling array of gay poetic voices. The Letter I, the poet’s first book in ten years, follows Rhodes into middle age, addressing matters of love, sex, faith, art, and friendship early in a new century.



Official Publication Date: September 15, 2014



About the author


Jersey City native Dennis Rhodes spent seventeen years in the public relations agency business, working at one time for the nation’s largest independent PR firm. Among his many and varied clients were the NY state lottery, Black & Decker, the island nations of Trinidad & Tobago and Curacao, as well as Seagram’s and ReMax. Rhodes left the industry in 1995 to concentrate on his poetry and creative writing and to nurture his health, as he is a long-time HIV survivor. Rhodes is well known for his advocacy of both poetry and poets. He served as Literary Editor of Body Positive magazine and later as poetry editor of Provincetown Magazine. He co-founded the Provincetown Poetry Festival and ran it from 1999 through 2001. He is the author of two books of poetry, Spiritus Pizza and other poems (2000) and Entering Dennis (2005). His poetry and essays have been published in many periodicals, newspapers and literary journals, among them New York Newsday, The Cape Cod Times, Fine Gardening, Avocet, Backstreet, Ibbetson Street, Bloom, Chelsea Station, Lambda Book Review, bear creek haiku, Aurorean, and Alembic. Rhodes is a thirty-five-year member of the Authors Guild Inc. He is a long-time member of the Academy of American Poets as well as the Worcester County (MA) Poetry Association. He has recently become active with the International Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation (IOCDF); he has been an OCD-sufferer for fifty years. Among many other subjects and issues, OCD has played a decisive role in Rhodes’ poetry and other writings. Rhodes can be reached at

Read an interview with Dennis Rhodes featured in the
Provincetown Banner.



Praise for The Letter I

“His poems show a deep love of the natural world, they also show a strong empathy with human frailty.

Provincetown Banner

“Rhodes has a fine sense of irony coupled with a keen eye for detail. He’s always winking at the reader, his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. …Rhodes is cheeky and clever. What else do you need?

—Jerry Wheeler, Out in Print

“Timely and powerful. Here we have a poet who can be brutally honest and tender at the same time.”

—Amos Lassen, Reviews by Amos Lassen

“Dennis Rhodes is Provincetown's citizen poet... a poet of the democratic whose earlier book Spiritus Pizza and other poems was a rough and tumble grab bag of rhymed autobiographical musings which moved us, as a trolley, rather abruptly toward Provincetown's main square."

Walter Holland, author of Circuit

"Searing in their honesty, yet tender in their poignancy, the poems in this collection are each a heart laid bare. They offer us a window into a world of many seared hearts where every day is a struggle to define the one word, “I.” This collection will make you at turns want to laugh or want to cry. Most of all, it will make you contemplate what it means to be human.”

—Judith Valente, correspondent, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly on PBS-TV, author of Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith; The Art of Pausing, Inventing an Alphabet; and Discovering Moons


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