Stefan May works at a desk which is a family heirloom. He is an poet and writer. To view more "I Art York" artists go to
Stefan May works at a desk which is a family heirloom. He is an poet and writer. To view more "I Art York" artists go to (Bill Kalina)

York City government officials, economic-development pros and businesspeople are hoping to reinvent York through the talents of creative people. Allow us to introduce you to the folks who could be the key to unlocking York's future. Using video, photos and text, we're putting together a database of sorts, showcasing local artists of all stripes. Check out the other artists we've tracked down and featured. We call this section "I Art York."

Stefan May is a poet with an English degree and a lot of attitude.

Add a bartending career to this 43-year-old Yorker's life, and you get the type of writing a little raw for newspaper ink.

That's not to say this Dallastown Area High School graduate doesn't have a soft side. Until very recently, May was the primary caretaker for his aging parents.

Their passing is likely to fuel the next phase of May's poetry.

"Death is the ultimate transition," he said.

May said he's been writing "for as long as I can remember."

After high school, he attended Penn State and changed his major several times -- from medieval studies to journalism and, finally, to English.

He focused on creative writing and poetry, graduating in 1994 with a minor in theology.

Next, May enrolled in a Pittsburgh university, the only one in Pennsylvania to offer a degree in poetry.

But he didn't stay long. May returned to York County to help his parents after his father underwent bypass surgery.

Back home, May found a job bartending. He also studied at York College and served as a substitute teacher.

Eventually, May was on the move again. A friend, who'd moved to New York City, told May he belonged there.

But after the terrorist attacks of September 11, May decided to return to York once again.

He moved in with his father and mother, who'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He cared for his parents and their property.

"And I wrote," he said.

Three years ago, May published his first book of poetry, "Roadman."

The title gets its name from the Native American term for a peyote shaman, May said.

"They call him 'roadman' because he takes you down a different road of consciousness," he said.

May said he's always been interested in the world's religions.

The book includes a poem called "American Standard" -- which gets its name from the toilet company.

May said he enjoys writing social criticisms about the things people talk about in bars, "but you don't really see anybody writing about."

Both of May's parents died in the past few months. Writing has taken a backseat, he said.

But he knows he'll pick up the pen eventually. He'd already begun work on his second book, "Cartographer's Crossing."

"Change and transition has always a constant in my world," he said.

HOW HE WOULD IMPROVE YORK'S ART SCENE: "Get more people like Michael Helfrich on city council," he said.

HOW TO FIND HIM: May has a page on Facebook dedicated to his writing:!/pages/Roadman-Rises/104925419584202