To celebrate the publication of Native Instincts, a book release party will be held February 3, 6:30 pm, at the Olmos Pharmacy Diner, 3902 McCullough Ave. Image courtesy of Rod Stryker.

With the release of “Native Instincts” local author and poet Rod Carlos Stryker offers a new collection of poems on topics ranging from love and death to the human condition.

A book release party is set for Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Olmos Pharmacy Diner. Copies of “Native Instincts,” published by Human Error Publishing, will be on hand for signing and an open-mic poetry reading will follow.

One reader called Rod Stryker “a perpetual motion machine with words.” Stryker has been nominated three times for San Antonio’s poet laureate. He founded the Sun Poets’ Society, the area’s longest running weekly open mic poetry reading, more than two decades ago.

Native Instincts is the third book by Rod Stryker. Photo by Anna Soto.
Native Instincts is the third book by Rod Stryker. Photo by Anna Soto.

Stryker is the author of two other books of poetry. “Lucid Affairs” was favorably reviewed by Larry Thomas, Texas Poet Laureate of 2008. “His poems sparkle with street life, sensuality, social commentary, history (especially of Native American cultures), and an uncompromising sense of humanity which underscores the entire collection,” Thomas wrote.

Stryker’s first book, “Exploits of a Sun Poet,” was a tie for Best Book of the Year for 2005 by the San Antonio Current.

Stryker, 49, is the father of two boys, Anthony and Zachary, and the spouse of Sabina de Vries. Stryker is a U.S. Air Force veteran and an employee of the University of Texas at San Antonio where he is completing his bachelor’s degree in English. “Native Instincts” has been six years in the making. It includes a handful of photographs and more than 50 poems by the author.

“This is my best collection thus far,” Stryker said. “I am very excited to be working with Human Error Publishing in making the publication and release of ‘Native Instincts’ a reality.”

Texas Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla called the book a beautiful power edging on pain.

“’Native Instincts’ reveals a sensitivity wrought from years of experience and experiences, a wisdom built from the sweat and muscles, grief and survival skills of Desert Storm and workaday America,” she wrote.

“This book, a song of symbiosis with the beer-swillin’ biker-bum and Brahms, with beached dolphins yelling haikus and terrified angels blinding us, with ‘Band-Aids and Cement,’ is also a song of human survival and a loving connection that embraces the whole of our universe,” Tafolla added. “Stryker has proven here in these poems that he is, indeed, ‘alive, in my Cantos.’”

One of Stryker’s poems, “Rio Grande Odyssey,” was featured in Tafolla’s 2014 event, San Antonio, Mi Pueblo, and was also immortalized by Chadd Green and A.J. Garces in a video.

*Top image: Some of the first copies of “Native Instincts.” Photo courtesy of Rod Stryker. 

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Don Mathis

Don Mathis

Don’s life revolves around the many poetry circles in San Antonio. His poems have been published in many anthologies and periodicals and broadcasted on local TV and national radio. In addition to poetry,...