Former resident publishes poetry book

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Caley credits grade-school teacher for encouraging her to write

By Sharon Graves

A former executive and future middle school teacher has written and published what she hopes to be the first of many books of poetry – and maybe a novel or two.

Danese Marsh Caley, a 1990 graduate of Carroll County High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in computer technology, then worked her way up to executive level at General Electric in Louisville. But, she found her real passion is for teaching. Now working on her master’s degree in education at the University of Louisville, her goal is to teach social studies at the middle school level. She has been a substitute teacher in Jefferson County public schools and observed at Henry County Middle School.

“Middle school is, by far, my favorite age group,” she said. “I like the fact that they are so thorny. ... They are still caught between needing adult affirmation and wanting to start their own way. Girls’ sense of self-worth and identity happens in middle school.”

In her own life, the middle school years were “a tough time for me, and some people had more of an impact than they realize,” Caley said. “They gave me a sense of ‘I can live to fight another day.’”

Poetry is her other passion, and she credits former Carroll County grade school teacher Butch Keithley for encouraging her to write, and for letting her read her short stories to the class.

Her first book, “Emerging,” includes free-verse poetry written during a difficult time, when she was going through a divorce and beginning a quest to find love again.

Tell Me Again,” is one of her favorites in the book, she said, because it begins at a very low point in her life and ends with the realization that life would get better.

Writing poetry is a catharsis, she said. Everyone has difficult times, but Caley remains optimistic. “There’s all this good stuff waiting.”

When writing, Caley said, “My pen comes to life.” Recurring themes are spirit and nature, but she admits she bounces from theme to theme when she’s writing. Caley said she takes inspiration from even the smallest things. And once something strikes her, she said she needs write it immediately before she loses it.

The idea to publish her book came from friends and family, she said, adding that it took six months for her to decide which poems to use and which would be omitted. With help from her husband, Myles, and a friend, they culled the selections from 300 poems she had penned from 2005-08.

She published the book through BookSurge, a service offered at Amazon.com that allows writers of all genres the opportunity to self-publish for free. The paperback is available online at Amazon for $10.99.

“They pick up things that aren’t mainstream,” Caley said of working with the online bookseller.

Caley said she doesn’t check Amazon to see how many books have been sold, because her goal was never to have a best-seller. But, a local book-signing in Carrollton is something she would like to do.

And she’s still writing. She’s working on another collection of poems with the hope that “they can fall into the hands of those who need them,” she said. And, perhaps, prose. “There’s a few novels in me.”

Caley, her husband and two children, Elle, 6, and Nicholas, 4, live in La Grange, Ky.