Guest Picks: Poet and Educator David Anthony Sam

This post is part of our Guest Picks series, featuring members of our library community sharing their favorite books and movies.

About David Anthony Sam

David Anthony Sam retired as the fifth president of Germanna Community College in 2017. He teaches creative writing there now and also serves as Regional Vice President of the Poetry Society of Virginia. Sam lives in Locust Grove, VA, with his wife Linda. A first-generation college student, Sam has degrees from Eastern Michigan University (BA, MA) and Michigan State University (Ph.D.). Sam’s poetry has appeared in over 100 journals, and he has eight poetry collections, six of which are in circulation at CRRL. Visit his website:, opens a new window

I still remember my excitement on receiving my first library card. My parents were generous in buying me books when I lived as a child in McKeesport, PA, but we had no close-by library there. When we moved to the small Michigan city of Belleville, I found the local library within a mile’s walk. I can still see the back corner where I spent hours reading. I still love the look, feel and smell of hard copy books. Yes, I value the convenience of eBooks, of being able to have thousands in my hand, of being able to highlight and notate without marring the book. But a physical book opens worlds and carries physical sensations of its own. And to stand in a library and see thousands of books, shelf after shelf of wonder to open, still thrills me.

As a first generation college student whose parents strongly valued and supported education, I was blessed even more. At a public university, Eastern Michigan, I struggled to choose a major. There seemed no subject I was not interested in. But the power and thrill of language fully engaged me, and I decide on English Literature with a History minor, seemingly “useless” for the working world. But language is the main tool of a salesperson, and an ethical salesperson teaches as much as persuades. And a leader depends on all four of the communication skills: reading, writing, speaking, and, probably most important, listening.

As a busy professional, much of my reading was focused on the job. Yet even in the busiest years, I still managed to read at least a book a month. I was never without a library card. (I have four right now.) Since retiring, I voraciously read, and continue to read widely–-fiction, nonfiction, poetry, how-to, whatever. In 2022, I read over 200 books, over 57,000 pages. It troubles me that so many never read books unless forced to by school or job. It troubles me that so many are eager to ban books. Books, especially novels and poetry, have the power to expand our world, to grow our understanding of others, to develop compassionate imagination.

The best gift my parents gave me was that library card. The CRRL provides all of us with a wealth of words. I deeply appreciate CRRL’s commitment to local authors, too. You can find six of my poetry collections on a shelf there:

Below, you will find some of David's favorite books with his comments and a link to the complete list:

CRRL Guest Picks: David Anthony Sam

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