“Amazingly learned poems!”

John Montague, first Ireland Chair of Poetry

Much in the manner of Francis Ponge, Richard Hedderman’s poems in Choosing a Stone delve into the essence of things in startling ways to reveal hidden depths. Here, for example, an avocado’s slightly musty odor is “like an old well / where the five senses have come to drink and drowse,” or “the moon is an ax // grinding itself against the wind.” Whether luxuriating in the simple delights that life offers—hammocks, Basque cuisine, cloud-gazing or reinventing scenes from Beowulf and Hamlet, the poems are sensuous and painterly, and (if I may appropriate one of Hedderman’s images for tomatoes) they “hoard . . . in their flesh fabulous waters.”

Richard Foerster, author of Boy on a Doorstep: New and Selected Poems

The poems in Choosing a Stone are rife with all sorts of deliciousness. Such elegant writing! Most important, Hedderman’s language is exquisite. His word choices are attuned to sound and echo giving them a haunting quality. As well, these are love poems—to a woman, to objects of nature, to history and its heroes and villains. It’s as if Hedderman is speaking to past, present and future at once as the author of his own mythos. He “gathers together fragments of time” into wonder-filled verses. Most important, these are poems of refuge. There is a sense of sanctuary, safety and respite. With him, readers will “Walk, clothed in rags,/into [his] astonishing world.”

Karla Huston, Wisconsin Poet Laureate 2017-2018, author of Grief Bone, Five Oaks Press

“Richard Hedderman’s brilliant poetry is concise and concentric, like that steelhead he sees caught and released, revealing nature’s glint and muscle, a rare moment, ephemeral but here, as the poet shows us what is hidden or not often noticed. It is a delight to read a poet who revels in the beauty in being. His poems bring me closer to myself. Questioning an afterlife, the poet see his own heaven as ” . . . a place/to lie down in for an hour/with the long summer sun on our faces,/amid the drone of bees in a tended garden. . . . Reading Choosing a Stone, I am reminded of Thoreau’s attention to the blessings and intricacies in our natural world, which give our lives meaning, and his belief that a life well-lived is one that chooses only what is essential.”

Nancy Takacs, author of The Worrier, winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry

“Fantastic work. Deep and rich and polished. I’m savoring the poems one at a time, that’s how good they are.”

John Galligan, critically acclaimed mystery novelist, including his latest, Dead Man Dancing


“Richard’s articles are always well worth the wait. They’re absolutely top-notch.”

 – Allison Dall Knox, Editor, Footlights Performing Arts Magazine/Marcus Promotions

“In stunning metaphoric language, Richard Hedderman tells the stories of the unseen architecture underpinning the universe. At the same time his poems are funny, surprising, and connected to the world of everyday life. He’s a poet whose words resonate long after you close the book.”

Robin Mello, PhD, Chair, Department of Theatre, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

“He’s a real writer, and has written some of the most beautiful poems I’ve ever seen. It’s beautifully crafted work—truly exquisite.”

Mekeel McBride, award-winning poet, Professor of English, University of New Hampshire, author of Dog Star Delicatessen: New and Selected Poems 1979–2006

“His writing shows a mature knowledge of the world. He’s smart, well-read, and deeply committed to literature and the advancement of his craft.”

Richard Foerster, winner of the “Discovery”/The Nation Award for poetry, author of Boy on a Doorstep: New and Selected Poems

“Richard Hedderman has penned a marvelous series of poems written in response to Beowulf. This remarkable sequence captures the mood of the original in spare, modern idiom—an impressive achievement.”

Tom Carnicelli, PhD, poet, Professor Emeritus of English, University of New Hampshire, author of Old Guy and Older Guy


“Richard’s poetry workshop got rave reviews!”

Lisa Henner, co-founder of Wisconsin’s Driftless Writing Center

“One of our regular students says she knows something is poetic, ‘when my heart begins to quiver, my brain seems hot, and I’m eager for the next word – that is poetry.’ And your class was really all that! We were eager and engaged and our hearts did quiver. We look forward to working with you again. You are a great teacher.”

LaurieYingling, Program Coordinator for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

“Richard captures the attention of new writers, and inspires them to write breathtaking poetry.”

Liz Jorgensen, Creative Writing teacher, author of Go, Gwen, Go – A Family’s Journey to Olympic Gold

“Richard is as masterful coaching professionals as he is students.

Michael Allosso, film and stage director

“Richard Hedderman is wonderful to work with. The students get a crash course in museum studies and learn so much from him. I can’t say enough about how much my work with Richard has enhanced my teaching. He is an exceptional educator.”

Mara Kachelski, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, regarding the Museum Class Research Project (MCRP)

“Thank you for promoting poetry in the state. You help so many children by not only making poetry accessible, but also inspiring them to write. You’re awesome! I look forward to many more collaborations.”

Liz Jorgensen, writing teacher, Arrowhead Union High School, regarding the Milwaukee Public Museum’s student poetry competition

From “Choosing a Stone II”

Choose a stone

but by evening leave it at the bend
in the road to mark the place
where you got lost,

or drop it into your pocket
for luck if nothing else.