Poet found solace in writing

January 28, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Roger Yates realizes his opinion after Sept. 11 was not a popular one.

Like many Americans, Yates was devastated by the terrorist attacks, but he also was disturbed by how many Americans adopted a completely violent attitude afterward.

"I saw how everything seemed to change and how everybody seemed to go along with everything after that, and it kind of creeped me out," he said.

"I wanted to know what happened to 'turn the other cheek.' In general, I would get chastised for saying that," said Yates, 27, of Martinsburg. "You can't suspend your belief system just because something bad happened to you."


So he turned to poetry to express his feelings. The result is "Without Within," published by print-on-demand book-maker PublishAmerica. The book was released last October.

Shortly after the attacks, he went to work in Kearneysville, W.Va., for the Coast Guard on a Homeland Security project to track vessels, Yates said. He now is a medical surgical nurse.

But he didn't feel the need to blow anything up and he's against the war. Yates said he wanted those responsible for the terrorist attacks put on trial and hoped they would spend the rest of their lives in prison.

He wanted more people to question the government's motives. He also was disheartened that the media focus on Sept. 11 took attention away from other international issues.

A protest he attended in Washington, D.C., in April 2002 about blind U.S. support for Israel regarding the Palestinian conflict received little media attention, he said.

Most of the poetry in the book was written after Sept. 11, said Yates, who began writing poetry in third grade for a competition. "Without Within," which contains some crude language, is for mature audiences.

To see poetry selections from the book, go to The retail price for "Without Within" is $19.95 plus shipping, although has it listed for $16.95. It also is available online through and

Art Space - an occasional Sunday feature - highlights accomplishments of area residents. To enter the Art Space, send a basic press release with a copy of your book or music to Art Space, Lifestyle, The Herald-Mail Co., P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741.

The Herald-Mail Articles