Former Polk Middle teacher releases first book of poetry

Published 12:17 pm Thursday, September 21, 2023

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Riddle publishes “Dust and Ashes, Fire and Light”


SALUDA—Former Polk Middle School science teacher David Riddle has just self-published his first book of poetry, entitled “Dust and Ashes, Fire and Light.” The book is a collection of twenty-one carefully selected poems and is available at the Book Shelf in Tryon, as well as online.

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Riddle’s love for poetry began in high school and has continued to flourish throughout his life. He was heavily influenced by his grandfather, an English Professor at Wofford College who often wrote and quoted poetry and to whom he dedicated the book. 

After retiring from teaching in 2011, Riddle dedicated more time to writing and found several writing and poetry groups in the area to join. One, a poetry critique group, taught Riddle how to rewrite and rework his poems and showed him that critiques could be helpful. Another, the Poet Tree Group, met during the pandemic at Harmon Field, where they would share poems. It was this group that gave Riddle the confidence to self-publish his book. 

The book’s preface reads, “I’ll let these poems stand on their own, as they are. I offer them to you in the hope that they — some of them anyway — may speak to your heart as they have spoken to mine.” 

Riddle writes for his satisfaction and has written poems for others, and says he hopes to sell a few copies. He also mentions that copies are available locally and that he likes to support local booksellers. 

David enjoyed the self-publishing process so much that he is considering writing another book about his experiences as a teacher. He first came to Polk County in 1986 to start programs at FENCE before moving on to teach science to eighth graders at Tryon and then Polk Middle School. 

For aspiring poets, Riddle’s advice is to “get with a group of people and pick their brains.” This approach has worked for him, and his new book and poetry should inspire others to pursue their writing dreams.