December 12, 2023
As we reported previously, the most recent episode of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Radio series From My Home To Yours is a California-themed show entitled "California Sun." In addition to playing a great set of musical recordings connected to that theme, Springsteen can be heard throughout the show reading several poems or excerpts from poems that also fit well in an episode focused on The Golden State. Springsteen identifies by name almost all of the authors of the poems, with only one exception: Dan Higgins.
Higgins wrote two of the California-themed poems read by Springsteen in the episode, "Golden Dreams" (read by Bruce just before he plays Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's "California Soul") and "Surf's Symphony" (read by Bruce just before he plays The Beach Boys' "California Saga" single.) Yet, unlike what occurs after every other poem is read on the show, we never hear Springsteen state the title of either of Higgins' poems or credit him as their author.
We recently tracked down Dan Higgins as the source of the show's two "mystery poems" and reached out to him. Since Dan currently resides in Enfield, North London, he doesn't have any direct access to the programming of SiriusXM satellite-radio and its channels such as E Street Radio. Therefore, he wasn't yet aware of Bruce Springsteen having read his poetry on-air, until we informed him about it and sent him the relevant audio-snippets of the show.
"Imagine my surprise," Higgins recently told us, "when I recognized my own lines, my own metaphors, being delivered in the iconic voice of Bruce Springsteen. It was a moment of immense pride and surreal excitement. To have my words reach such a wide audience, voiced by a figure as legendary as Bruce, is truly an honor that every poet aspires to." At the same time, understandably the pleasantness of the surprise was diminished at least somewhat by learning that he was the only uncredited poet featured on the show. "Isn't it a fascinating paradox? On one hand, hearing my words echo from the speakers, being delivered by none other than the legendary Bruce Springsteen, was an experience both surreal and exhilarating. It's the kind of moment every poet dreams of, isn't it? On the other hand, the lack of attribution was a rather jarring note. It reminded me once again of the importance of acknowledging creativity."
Nevertheless, overall Dan's taken in very good stride what has been a rather amazing roller-coaster kind of experience for him, especially since his California-themed poetry sprang from someone who's lived most of his life in England, spending only a brief time in California while visiting some friends a while ago. Of course, one measure of Higgins' poetic powers is just how much his "Golden Dreams" and "Surf's Symphony" poems obviously resonated with someone like Springsteen, who has such a strong and deep connection to California.
Dan remains very posItive, humble, and grateful in regards to this surprise Springsteenian spotlight on his poetry. While Higgins is not any kind of major Springsteen fan (preferring punk and ska as his "go-to" musical genres,) he still fully recognizes and appreciates the significance of his poems having been selected for and read on an episode of From My Home To Yours. "Bruce Springsteen," Dan recently told us, "has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the world of music. His iconic sound, his raw storytelling - both have won him legions of fans across the globe... I wholly appreciate the impact Springsteen's had on rock and roll; his contributions to the genre are undeniable."
Higgins also remains very much grounded by his daily community, family, and professional responsibilities. "I wear many hats," says Dan, "teacher, father, husband, Elder, poet, and mentor. Each role enriches me, teaching me valuable lessons that I strive to share with others." Both he and his wife Katy are primary-school teachers. "My day begins in the classroom, a lively space filled with curious minds eager to learn. As an educator, there's nothing more rewarding than guiding these young individuals on their learning journeys. But isn't it even more special when you can share this experience with someone you love? Katy, also a teacher at the same school, is my constant source of inspiration. Recognizing the universal challenges that teachers face, I decided to create a teaching website, with Katy's assistance and support. It's called The Teaching Couple. Here, I share my insights, strategies, and resources to support other educators in their journey.
"Together, we not only navigate the world of education but also the adventures of parenting our four-year-old son. Being a parent has taught me patience, empathy, and the art of storytelling - skills that have proven invaluable in my professional life as well. But my roles don't end at school or home. As an Elder at our local church, I have the honor of leading and mentoring our congregation. This role allows me to connect with people on a deeper level, offering guidance and support just as I do in my classroom. It's another facet of my life that enriches my perspective as an educator. So, as you can see, my life is an intertwining of roles - each one influencing and enriching the other.
"And then there is poetry. I get so much joy from crafting a poem! There's a certain rhythm to it, a flow that's almost meditative. Whether I'm penning verses about my experiences, observations, or the simple beauty of life, poetry adds a layer of creativity to my life, making every day a little more vibrant. If people enjoy poetry, I have spent the last few years writing over 340 poems about lots of different subjects." You can click here to view a listing of and links for all of the poems that Dan has published at the Teaching Couple website, including his California-themed poems that were selected for From My Home To Yours, Volume 31 - "California Sun."
If you're a SiriusXM subscriber, the "California Sun" episode and all other episodes of From My Home To Yours remain available as on-demand listening by clicking here for the SiriusXM app. (Enter "springsteen from my home to yours" in the search-engine.) And the next time you hear Bruce Springsteen reading "Golden Dreams" or "Surf's Symphony," you'll know that we're happy to have joined with Bruce in shining a well-deserved spotlight on the work of Dan Higgins.