Richard (Dick) Fligor, retired merchant and Edgartown poet, includes 65 poems in the second edition of his book of verse, Breakfast Poems. All but one of them, he said, took him less than an hour to write.

“I write a poem a day. I never go back to it once it’s finished,” Mr. Fligor, 87, said in a recent interview with the Gazette. “A word comes up in my mind, and it always sounds good there . . . . I don’t know what that writer’s block thing is.”

The second edition of his book is the culmination of four decades of writing and around 3,000 complete poems, said Mr. Fligor, well known on-Island for The Fligors department store he and his wife Carol started in late 1950s Edgartown.

“I stopped drinking 41 years ago, and within two weeks around the desk at my store there were two little sticky notes with short verses on each side,” he recalled. “So, one thing led to another.”

Soon after, Mr. Fligor began his habit of daily writing, inspired by the practice of French philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre. In those early days, he said, his writing was highly personal and highly private.

“It was purely therapeutic. I never dreamed that anybody would read them. It was for me,” he said.

It was not until a few years ago when a friend of his daughter, a writer, encouraged him “to get your talent out of the closet and share with the world” that he thought about publishing.

But in searching through his existing archive of therapeutic poetry Mr. Fligor said he found his work too personal to include in a collection. Instead, he decided to compose a complete, original poetic work, blending fictitious and autobiographical detail.

“Every poem in there may or may not be fiction, may or may not be true, may have nothing to do with nothing,” he said. “There is no hidden message, there is no progressive idea I am enlarging on, it’s simply me.”

Breakfast Poems varies wildly in topic and style. They are humorous, reflective and conceptual, and mostly composed of single-line verses. In lieu of description, Mr. Fligor included the poem Epic Me on the back of his volume: “Writing my poet’s heart out. Finding my voice brings this about. Now, face the music, bare the soul and enjoy this fleeting life.”

Each one was written, he said, at one of his favorite Island haunts: Espresso Love Café, Edgartown Meat and Fish or Big Dipper Ice Cream and Café. He writes on his iPhone, connected to a Bluetooth keyboard.

The second edition of the book largely reproduces the first; he was even careful to preserve punctuation mistakes. But there was one major addition: the 84-verse Epic Dream Poem, Mr. Fligor’s attempt to tackle the theme of love.

“In a way love is endless,” he said. “Worldwide and endless and it goes up in all the stars and moon and all that too.” He named Longfellow’s Evangeline and T.S. Eliot as major inspirations for Epic Dream. Its length required him to depart from his daily poem pattern, breaking its composition down to one verse a day. “I can’t believe I wrote the damn thing,” he said.

Though a silhouette of Martha’s Vineyard appears on the cover of Breakfast Poems, Mr. Fligor is ambivalent about role the Island takes in his work, alternately describing it as “a great literary spit of land” and “a literary cesspool.”

Ultimately, though, Mr. Fligor settled on a positive assessment of the Island and its residents.

“This place still attracts the same people it attracted when I came here 57 years ago,” he said. “That’s what inspired me to be a Vineyarder, be artistic, be learned, be family, be whole.”

Breakfast Poems is Mr. Fligor’s own artistic offering to those Vineyarders, old and new.

“I write for the common man,” he said. “My to encourage people to read, and read poetry.”

To further that purpose, Mr. Fligor included a simple admonition on his book cover: Read a Poem a Day and Feel Good.

Since publishing the first edition of Breakfast Poems, Mr. Fligor said many readers had stuck strictly to that rule, limiting themselves to just one poem a day. Though he said it was not his intention for readers to limit themselves, he has since embraced the practice.

His mission, thus far, said Mr. Fligor, has been a success.

“My God, somebody is stopping on one page, reading it today and they feel good,” he said. “Now, what in the world could anybody have done and not feel successful, right there?” 

Breakfast Poems is available at the Granary Gallery, Portobello Road, and on