Poet turns tragedy into inspiration


Kristen Pierce, KP News

Dennis Baze, a 25-year-old resident of the Key Peninsula, has just published his first book, “I Found Myself.”

Baze and his wife, Jessica, moved to Lake Holiday from Lakewood two and a half years ago to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. As with many other local artists, Baze finds the peace and tranquility of the Key Peninsula an inspiration for his writing.

There is a twinkle in his eye as he begins to share his journey from a young teen to a man in his early 20s. He talks about the relationship with his older half-brother Harry, a talented young man who was a musician and a writer. He and Dennis were very close, as they shared many interests. Dennis admired his brother’s talents and looked up to him in many ways.In 1994, when Dennis was 13, the brotherly bond came to an end with a tragic event. Harry fell victim to gang violence. He was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Tacoma. Although his brother’s involvement with gangs lead to his untimely death, Baze managed to turn the tragedy into a positive lesson for his own life.

“After my brother passed away, I really found myself and began to pursue my writing, ” he said.

He was 16, in high school, and experimenting with writing. He took a creative writing class to see where it might lead him. At first he struggled with the art but stuck with it because he wanted to show his fellow classmates he could become a good writer. He also wanted to carry on the legacy of his brother’s dream as a writer.

Once, he recalls, a student made a remark about one of the poems Baze read aloud to the class. The student said it was a terrible poem. The poem was about the passing of Baze’s brother. Instead of discouragement, it only led to a deeper passion for writing. Baze dabbled in short stories, screenplays, and poetry, and narrowed his writing down to primarily poems and song lyrics. He said the poetry was a good outlet for him to express his feelings and release stress at the end of the day.

Ten years later, Baze compiled his favorite poems and decided to publish a book. He had one rejection by a publishing company in Pennsylvania, but found better luck with Maryland-based Publish America. Once published, he became motivated to write another book, “This Is Why I Am Proud,” which will be available by the end of 2006.

With more confidence in himself, Baze finds that his writing style has changed a bit. He takes more time to focus on his writing. He is more relaxed and can wait for creative ideas to come to him without trying to push them along.

With a smirk, he admits, “I really enjoy getting positive feedback and acknowledgement for my writing. I also like to see people’s reactions to my poetry.”

Baze also has visions of owning a publishing company and a recording company to be able to help fellow artists in fulfilling their dreams.


Book signing

Dennis Baze’s book “I Found Myself” may be purchased through www.bn.com or www.amazon.com. You can read some of his poems online at www.poetry.com.

Meet Baze at his book signing on April 8 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Key Center Library, as part of a special Tea and Poetry event sponsored by the Friends of the Key Center Library. Tea and refreshments will be served.