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Buttross finds life in written word

Editor’s note: The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter and a photographer throw a dart at a map and find a story where it lands.

NATCHEZ — Peter Buttross has spent his last 17 years in Natchez filling his house and filing cabinets full of hundreds of folders of his writing.

With nearly 7,000 written pieces, 65-year-old Buttross takes in the world through his poetry.

Whether it’s walking through Natchez streets with a pen and pad in hand or lying in bed at night before he goes to bed, Buttross is constantly adding to his collection.

And when The Dart landed on Rankin Street in Natchez, Buttross was working at his computer waiting for the next group of words to come to his head.

“A day doesn’t pass where I don’t write something,” he said.

Buttross said he has been writing seriously since 1973, but since his return back to Natchez in 1994, he has written something every day.

“Writing is a compulsion for me,” he said. “There is no effort to it.”

While Buttross writes in all styles, he said poetry is his favorite form of expression, and the main source of his expansive collection of work.

“It’s a rather unusual thing to do, to translate the world into words,” he said. “But if you are compelled to do something, then you do it.”

Buttross said he has had poetry published before, but whether or not he gets published is far from his goal.

“There is no money in writing poetry,” he said. “People who are in it for that are in it for the wrong reasons.”

Buttross’ work has not only been confined to writing poetry. He has also spent his time trying to promote poetry to the community of Natchez.

Buttross started a poetry reading society in Natchez in 1996 that successfully ran for three years in the city.

“We had a big group and we would meet at a local bookstore once a month,” he said. “The members would get up and read their poetry and we even had a guest poet come in each month to read.”

Buttross said the group eventually broke up and went their separate ways in 1999, and ever since then his attempts to start a similar group in Natchez have fallen short.

“Back then we were fortunate to have enough serious writers present to have the club,” he said. “We’ve tried ever since, but nothing has stuck.”

Buttross said while he is getting too old to spearhead another poetry reading society, the efforts of one individual interested in organizing the group and one business willing to give them a place to meet could bring the society back to Natchez.

“There just doesn’t seem to be a large enough group of poets in the city,” he said. “If there are, I would love to meet them.”

Buttross said he will continue filling his filing cabinets and floors with his own works until he can’t write anymore.

“I love writing,” he said “And only that which you love do you learn from.”

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