PRESTONSBURG – Local writer John D. Ratliff has recently published his debut work, “Turning the Page,” a volume of poetry that Ratliff has been writing intermittently for around 30 years.
“I started writing when I was just out of high school, and when I went to college,” Ratliff said. “I enjoyed it, and it helped relieve the stress of being away from home.”
Ratliff says he published the work upon the recommendation of his wife.
“My wife got onto me one day, made me send it to a publisher,” he said. “She picked out the material for this book, next one I get to pick.”
With his poetry, Ratliff seeks to explore the experiences in life that drive and inspire us. His style is unique, consisting mostly of simple and lightly rhyming three line stanzas, which often succeed in evoking a sense of quietism. Ratliff lists Walt Whitman as one of his favorite influences, and says that his English teacher from Somerset Community College inspired and encouraged his early writing.
Ratliff is a U.S army veteran whose regular job as a UPS contractor has given him a unique audience.
“I hear from quite a few folks on my mail route that have found out about it,” he said. “There’s also some friends and family too, and even a few people from out of state.”
When asked if he has plans to publish any further work, Ratliff was extremely optimistic, saying he had plenty more where this first collection came from.
“The publishing process is pretty tedious, lots of editing, but I’ve already got two more books in the works waiting to be published, and a fourth that I’m currently working on,” he said.
Ratliff intends to start a Facebook page devoted to his work soon, as well as a Twitter account and a regular website for his future publishing.
Austin Curnutte is a contributing writer at The Floyd County Times.