John Jeffire’s latest book, “A Temple for Tomorrows,” will be released in July. The 108-page book is a collection of poems. Jeffire is a teacher at Chippewa Valley High School.

John Jeffire’s latest book, “A Temple for Tomorrows,” will be released in July. The 108-page book is a collection of poems. Jeffire is a teacher at Chippewa Valley High School.

Photo provided by Jeff Milo

Chippewa Valley High teacher releases poetry book

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published July 16, 2021


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — “A Temple for Tomorrows” has some significance to John Jeffire.

For starters, it completes a book series that began 13 years ago.

Jeffire, of Macomb Township, will release his latest book July 16. It is published by Detroit’s Aquarius Press.

The 108-page book is a collection of over 60 poems.

“It’s divided into three sections,” he said. “Some of the poems are several pages long, while some of them are quite short.”

The first section – Hustle – is about life growing up in Detroit with more of a local flavor to the poems.

Jeffire said the focus on the second section is more in the greater world, with an international flavor and commentary on world events.

The last portion is Jeffire’s most personal and deals with his ongoing experience with his wife, Konnie Jeffire’s, medical conditions.

“The subject matter hits you at different times,” he said.

Jeffire conducted the interview for this story from a hospital. Konnie Jeffire had a procedure on June 22.

“There’s been things I’ve been seeing, hearing and experiencing, and those personal poems come at different times,” he said.

In discussing the book’s title, John Jeffire said “A Temple for Tomorrows” is a line from a poem in the last section.

“I thought it fit the flavor of the work as a whole,” he said. “It’s about the ongoing struggle of trying to ensure there will be more tomorrows for my wife, who is a survivor of five brain surgeries.”   

Jeffire, 59, teaches English at Chippewa Valley High School, a school he has worked at for over 20 years.

He said the idea behind having three sections is that each is linked. He would like readers to see the work as a whole, looking from childhood and local events, and then outward to world events before going inward to personal events.

The publisher, Heather Buchanan, published Jeffire’s first poem collection “Stone + Fist, Brick + Bone,” 13 years ago, and it was the first book in Aquarius’ Living Detroit series.

“A Temple for Tomorrows” will be the last book in the series.

“It has some significance to me personally, because it’s the beginning and end of the series,” John Jeffire said.

M.L. Liebler, a poet and editor of “RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music,” called Jeffire “Detroit’s hero poet.”

“He writes gritty, feisty poems from his urban experience of being a stranger in a strange land. Jeffire’s poems make you feel, think, question and rebel against a callus world that offers little to the working people in America,” Liebler said.

Jeffire said the late Philip Levine, a U.S. Poet Laureate and a Detroiter, was a major influencer for him.

“He significantly speaks to me as a writer, and that influence is apparent in my writing,” Jeffire said. “My writing is much less formal and more raw. There’s more of a hard edge to it.”

With poems, as opposed to short stories, John Jeffire said there is a compactness of expression involved.

“There’s a paring down of narrative technique and the amount of words you use,” he said. “Each line and word carries more weight.”

The book is available for pre-order at for $15.

A July 16 book release event is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at Detroit’s Scarab Club.