Most of Ed Hofert's poetry is generated from the realities of every day life. He details the sweet and the sour, and sometimes a combination of both.
But years ago the Marshalltown resident's imagination kicked into high gear as a fictitious gold fish became real and Hofert's poetry career began.
The pretend gold fish used its tail to wave goodbye as he left for school.
T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Shown are Claudine and Ed Hofert at their Marshalltown home Wednesday.
The poem earned a star coupled with a smiley face.
Hofert said it was the highest grade he ever earned.
"I remember handing the poem to the teacher and we hadn't left the room," Hofert said. "She looked at it ... looked at me and said " 'Did you write this?' "
She was amazed."
The groundbreaking poem was a fifth grade assignment - but now, Hofert, at age 52, writes as a means of self-expression and fulfillment.
"Poetry for me has always been a way for my heart to speak directly to another's heart," he said. "It is guided by the heart and has always been my desire to use it to build up and edify others."
Over the years he continued to write, encouraged by family and friends.
And in between full-time painting and dry-walling jobs, he kept on.
A fall from a ladder derailed that career but it also gave Hofert time to reflect and write.
Social media giant Facebook was used effectively to publicize his work and his poems garnered attention.
Barb Scafferi of Northwood and the Times-Republican's Past Times columnist for many years, became interested and one of Hofert's poems was published as part of Scafferi's popular column.
Additionally, his friends encouraged him to collect his poems in book form and "Heart Whisperer," published in January, this year, was launched.
Hofert dedicated it to his mother, Claudine Hofert of Marshalltown.
"She never gave up on me, even when I had given up on myself," Hofert said.
The book attracted more attention and soon Hofert and a friend who helped him publish the work found themselves filling pre-paid orders from customers in Texas and Montana.
Hofert said it will be the first of four.
Religion, nature and humor will be subjects of the next three.
Hofert is working on the second book now which will include twice as many poems in "Heart Whisperer" he said, but he postponed that effort to concentrate on preparing a Mother's Day poem for Claudine. "Heart Whisperer" may be purchased by contacting Hofert at firstname.lastname@example.org