Bruce Sievers Is Old Glory's Happy Homer
updated 07/06/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/06/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT
"We're reacting against the negative spirit of the late '60s and '70s," Sievers explains. "We're tired of hearing people dump on our country." His one-man show, An American in Love With His Country, plays nonstop to groups like Kiwanis Clubs, Daughters of the American Revolution and Veterans of Foreign Wars. His lyrics are mostly doggerel (Americans must strive/To keep America alive/For freedom can never be free), yet his ardent and earnest readings frequently bring standing ovations from misty-eyed audiences. In 1974 Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr. inserted one of Sievers' poems into the Congressional Record, and this year Sievers was invited to the White House as poet laureate of National Patriotism Week.
Bruce, as his friends call him, grew up the son of an L.A. policeman who was also a general in the Army reserve. After dropping out of Cal State (Long Beach) and serving in the Green Beret reserves, though never in Vietnam, Sievers embarked on a coast-to-coast hitchhiking tour. There he found his muse, and soon he was arranging readings and peddling his poems. A married father with two sons, he is philosophical about his lack of critical esteem. "I don't think the literary establishment will ever accept me," he shrugs. "But if people stop buying my stuff, then I'll really be hurt."