Dordt College News

Schelhaas has new poetry in "Illuminated Manuscript"

August 20, 2012

For Sioux Center resident David Schelhaas, inspiration for poetry comes through everyday experiences like morning walks.

“Sometimes I experience something that seems like it could be made into a poem,” he says. “Sometimes I start with an image—the shadow of a leaf on the couch—and I start to write about it.”

His latest book of poetry from Dordt College Press, Illuminated Manuscript, celebrates the Creator and creation. In some poems he ruminates on his years as an assistant English professor at Dordt, while in others he chronicles the changes he sees in weather and in nature during a morning walk.

Schelhaas says that while penning Illuminated Manuscript he concentrated on the process of rewriting. He worked on the poem “Milkweed Pod” for nearly five years before he was satisfied with it. “Word leads to word,” he says. “Often the result is not worth keeping—my computer contains hundreds of discarded starts—but sometimes I see something in what I wrote that makes me go back to it again and again. Rewriting, tweaking, cutting, and adding. I love the rewriting step.”

Schelhaas hopes that readers gain “pleasure and inspiration” from this book of poetry.

"I continue to believe that pleasure in poetry is a universal human quality,” he says. “We all love song, we all love metaphor. We love dance and we love pictures. Poetry combines all of these.”

Illuminated Manuscript is available from the Dordt College Bookstore as well as from major on-line booksellers. The book is also available on the Dordt College Press website at

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