Meet the Members: Ray Spitzenberger

“I am looking forward to doing more of what I love to do most, writing — especially poetry and essays.”

— Ray Spitzenberger

A member of the Writers’ League since February 2019, Ray lives in East Bernard, TX.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Ray Spitzenberger: I write poetry and nonfiction — nonfiction including magazine articles, newspaper columns, Christian inspirational articles, essays, and a book of memories about the 1930’s and 1940’s. As a poet, I write free verse — Haiku and Tanka.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

RS: I would like to have a drink (cup of coffee) with Billy Collins, and I would ask him how he came to be a well known contemporary American poet, considering America’s waning interest in poetry.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

RS: This is a very difficult question to answer, because if I were stranded on a deserted island, I would want a whole stack of books to read.  However, to answer the question, I would choose Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, because it’s a great book which I could reread many times and which contains reproductions of Van Gogh’s greatest paintings.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

RS: What I have learned from my very short association with the Writers’ League is that I have desperately needed to be a part of a support system like this.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

RS: At age 84, I can’t look too many years to the future, but, after retiring from two careers, I am looking forward to doing more of what I love to do most, writing — especially poetry and essays. I also plan to publish what I write.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

RS: The Texas-related book I’ve read during this past year that I couldn’t put down was Austin, Texas, a collection of poems by my friend, Dave Oliphant.  I think Dave’s book was re-published this year, because he appeared at a special celebration in Austin where he lives honoring him and the book. I love the city of Austin and Dave’s book!

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion! 

RS: I love this last question about “blatant self-promotion”! So here goes! I live with my beautiful wife, Peggy, and our cantankerous old cat Gatsby in the rural town of East Bernard, Texas, 50 miles west of Houston. I am a retired college English teacher with a Doctor of Arts in English from the University of Michigan. I am also a retired Lutheran pastor with an Ordination by Colloquy from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. In spite of those facts, I was born and reared in Dime Box, Texas, and have lived in Texas most of my life. My parents and both sets of my grandparents were born and reared in Texas; all of my great grandparents were born in Germany, but lived most of their lives in Texas. I love Texas passionately!

My self-published book, It Must Be the Noodles, a joyful and humorous recollection of growing up Wendish in Dime Box, Texas in the 1930’s and 1940’s, is on sale at Amazon for $12.99 (paperback) and $8.99 (eBook).  My daughter, Rae Spitzenberger, a New York book designer, designed the book for me.

Thank you, Ray!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

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