Kingwood retired chemical engineer publishes first book of poetry

Three years ago, Ray Lohman, a retired chemical engineer and long-time Kingwood resident, was upset by the violence he was viewing on the television news, and determined to write something to capture his feelings at the time.

“I’m sitting watching TV and every 15 minutes, it seemed like somebody has had an accident. There was a wreck, there was a murder, a rape or something else going on interrupting my peaceful day,” he said.

His first poem, “My Solitude,” reflects and opens with the lines:

“Upon my couch I oft decline,

To view a part of life sublime,

And see an actor’s sense of history,

Playing a part in TV mystery.”

Today at 91, Lohman is a published author, with a book containing 100 of his works “Poems with a Message,” available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

A native Houstonian, Lohman spent his career in the oil and gas industry, including 28 years with ExxonMobil. After spending some time in New York City, in 1973 he and his wife, Janice, and their three children moved back to the Houston area and settled in the then brand-new community of Kingwood. The family moved into Kingwood’s first village, Trailwood Village, which at the time had a population of just 600 residents, “including the dogs and cats,” he joked.

After the children went off to college, in 1994 the couple moved into The Enclave, where they lived peacefully, until August 2017 when Hurricane Harvey brought devastating floods that inundated the interior of their home. Following the reconstruction and redecorating of their home, the pair moved back into the house and Lohman summarized his tranquil retired life, but he soon grew restless.

“After we got back into the home, I decided that I was not doing anything productive, zero. I got tired of it,” he said.

Following the completion of his first poem, I have decided to write another one.

“It was easy. Words came to me like I never would’ve thought about before,” he said. “I started doing it every day, just about.”

Lohman began sharing his poetry with his friends, who urged him to get his work published. He discovered AuthorHouse, a company that helps writers self-publish their works. “We struck a deal, they charged me probably less than most,” he said. The publishing house also offered to help Lohman market his book about him, but he declined.

“I said ‘I’m not trying to market this book. I’m trying to write it so my friends will enjoy it. I don’t care if anybody buys it otherwise,’” he commented.

Learning through experience

Lohman, who has not had any formal training in writing poetry, learned his craft by practicing it. “In my innocence, I thought all poems had to rhyme, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, because most poems don’t rhyme,” he said. Nevertheless, he said that most of his poems by him still will have a rhyme.

One of his grandsons, who had studied poetry in college, taught Lohman how to compose a sonnet, a structured form of poetry, consisting of 14 lines with 10 syllables per line, and many of his poems follow that format.

He also began reading books about poetry and reading and criticizing the works of other poets. However, I have found much of modern poetry to be too abstract for his taste of it.

“I didn’t like it to be honest with you. I found that it mostly didn’t make sense to me. I’m a very logical-thinking person and I didn’t see a lot of logic or messages in a lot of the poetry,” he said.

Early in his creative process, Lohman decided that each of his poems would have a specific message, a theme he incorporated in the title of his book.

“Sometimes the message is only: ‘This came from God. God provided this information to me,’” he said.

Lohman’s poems cover a wide variety of topics, including personal relationships, politics and religion and Christianity.

“I wrote about anything that I wanted to think about. Something would occur to me based on what’s going on in the world or something that had happened with my friends and I wrote about that. It’s not any structured effort in any way, it’s just what I did,” he said.

Lohman said he is well on his way toward creating his second book of poetry. He hopes to complete 100 new poems, enough to fill another volume. To date, he has written between 30 and 40 unpublished works.

“Sometimes I get carried away and write two or three pages of poetry,” he said. “God just gave me something to do.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *