Richard “Dick” Stahl (right) with former IL Poet Laureate Kevin Stein (left) and former IA Poet Laureate Mary Swander (center) in 2014

Our long-time friend and former MWC Board member Richard “Dick” Stahl passed away on February 19, 2020. He participated in many MWC events, and was a fixture on the Quad City creative and cultural scene for decades, and was truly the poet of the QC (he was the first-ever Quad City Poet Laureate 2001-03). You can read our tribute to Dick here.

He will be deeply missed, and MWC has created this page for people to share tributes and memories—poems, stories, anecdotes, photographs, recordings, etc. If you have something you would like to share, please send us an email with the subject “Stahl Tribute”—you can send your work as an attachment (doc, docx, mp3, mp4—if you have other file types, let us know and we’ll figure it out).

We are also holding a virtual poetry reading to celebrate National Poetry Month and remember Dick as well; we had originally planned the event to be held at Rozz-Tox, home of the SPECTRA Reading Series, but due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19, this reading will be postponed…in person. But we will be meeting virtually on Thursday, April 9 on Facebook to share poems via post, live stream, and to raise money for the Rozz-Tox Employee Fund (you can also get Rozz-Tox gift cards).  For more information about the reading, please visit the SPECTRA page on this site, and tune in on Thursday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. via Facebook for the event.

For now, please enjoy an excerpt of one of Dick’s work, including the poem “The Mississippi River, My Compass” which was included in the Quad City Symphony Orchestra‘s commission “CitySpeaks” composed by James M. Stephenson, and from which the phrase “this fabled silver streak” is borrowed (you can read more about this terrific composition and read all of the included texts here).

From “The Mississippi River, My Compass”
By Richard Stahl

Long as I can see, taste or feel its presence,
I never get lost in the Quad Cities.
My internal compass reacts
to the fierce magnetism
of this fabled silver streak, this Mississippi River.

One glance at the sun-stippled water flowing west
with its dashing waves, forward rolls,
and million points of light serves me direction,
distance and a call

like an oracle.

I look down
and I’m up with the current
that makes this part of the river
a natural watermark
for travelers.

I tap my refreshing Mississippi Highball
like a tonic, each drop
a generous
libation from the gods –

pure and clean, fresh
and miraculous in effervescence.
That’s the tone poem playing
in my psyche right now, a short composition
on river music
and lore,
transformative and transcendent.

© Richard Stahl, 2018


Tony Cardoso – Tribute to Dick Stahl

Salvatore Marici – Tribute to Dick Stahl