California, MD – JR Rhine started writing at a young age. From countless journals, short stories, and poems, Rhine always viewed this creative outlet as a catharsis of sorts. Now at 23, Rhine is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland and is a current candidate for their Master of Arts in Teaching program. He has self-published his first collection of poetry titled Parking Lot Poems. Each poem features a parking lot, “an ecosystem’s blemish,” as Rhine says in one of his pieces. Rhine’s writing focuses on more of the mundane aspects of life, as he says he is “inspired by the little things.” Rhine writes poems about supermarkets, songs, decaf coffee, even immaculately folded chino pants—subjects that anyone can relate to if they take the time to notice.

Writing is a method of relaxation and stress relief for Rhine, but it wasn’t until more recent years that it became a passion. Rhine says that his poetry influences are Charles Bukowski, Walt Whitman, Derek Zanetti, James Alex, and Allen Ginsberg. Anyone familiar with these poets can find attributes of them in Rhine’s work, and yet still Rhine’s voice is incredibly unique, and pervades throughout his entire collection. Some of his poetry is straightforward and nostalgic, while other pieces can be dissected and are full of rich symbolism. Rhine’s vocabulary is impressive, turning a simple dialogue into a musical piece, with words flowing and weaving like an orchestra.

To publish the collection, Rhine went to Printing Press Inc. located in Leonardtown Square. With several years of experience under his belt, Rhine designed each of the pages on Photoshop. He even released a CD that is sold along with the book featuring him reading each of his poems with a musical accompaniment. Rhine recorded the audio of him speaking at Phocus Video Communications in Lexington Park, and had the CD design printed on the discs there as well. The musical accompaniment was done by Rhine himself along with other local musicians. A successful book release and reading event was held at The Beanery Café and Bakery in California on Aug. 25. Rhine states that he still has some copies available for purchase, and is currently working on an online store.

Parking Lot Poems is almost entirely a Southern Maryland locally produced piece of art. Rhine states that this project took several months to complete, not to mention the amount of time writing his poems. Rhine hopes to encourage other poets in the area to consider getting their work published, or to just keep writing and creating. Inspiration is all around us, even in an empty parking lot.

If you have any questions for JR Rhine, or want to inquire about purchasing a book, contact him at jarhinejr@gmail.com.