Saturday, March 19, 2016

Book Update: Finally, Some Progress!

One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year was to pull together many of the collections of poems and essays that I have compiled over the years and publish them. I have considered this endeavor in the past but was never able to see it to the end. Well, over the past couple of months, I was finally able to see many of those projects come to fruition. It took some time, a considerable amount of energy, and a few dollars but I was finally able to get four books published through Author House.

The first book that I worked on was a collection of poems that I wrote as an undergraduate student at Endicott College. All of the poems in the collection were written at that time, many of them published both in literary journals and in a limited run I pulled together with a local print shop at the time titled Teaching A Stone To Talk: Nature Poems. I am still grateful for the help that I received from Carol Raiche for the formatting the modest book and putting me in touch with the printer.

Now, accompanied with photos taken over the past decade, these poems are once again available in the collection Paintings In Under A Thousand Words: Nature Poems.

Many of the poems found in these pages are all but memories of experiences that have colored my early life. Some see these moments as glimpses of a time past but I see them as paintings formed in slow deliberate strokes that highlight the details of life that instill the feeling of accomplishment when looking at your past. These images don't need the long drawn out descriptions laden with unnecessary letters, they are flashes quick to flood the mind and equally fast in fading back deep into the gray matter. This is why I see these poems, these memories of my encounters with nature, as paintings in under a thousand words.

The next book to be edited was a project that I started while at Endicott and which later served as my Master’s thesis at Rosemont College. The first sequence of poems was published previously both as individual poems in various literary journals and in my first official chapbook, Kaddish Diary, which was published in 2005 by Pudding House Publications. This small collection has long since been out of print and even one of the anthologies that included a couple of the poems has since gone out of print as well. In the years following the publication of the chapbook, I created two additional sequences based on two other works of holocaust literature. However, this collection also remained nearly forgotten on a flash drive for nearly a decade. Now, I have finally brought this project of passion to light in What Was Not Said: Echoes From The Holocaust.

The Holocaust is a subject all of us are aware of but there are countless accounts that are seldom heard. Based on the diaries, letters, and memoirs of Hertha Feiner, Janusz Korczak, and Filip Müller, these poems describe the life surrounding these writings. Every memoir has something missing. This is not a conscious decision by the author; it is the perspective of the writer filtered through the impermanence of memory. Sometimes it is a forgotten foreshadowing phrase said in passing or what is happening outside when their focus is on the room in which they are sitting. These are the aspects painted in this collection.

The next two collections will be quite familiar to many of you as they are collections of posts from this blog. The first of these books consolidated all of the genealogy posts and is really only the first of many that I expect on this topic. It highlights both the process and the discoveries that I have made over the years and includes many family photos and documents that many in the family may have not seen before. I am glad to finally be able to share many of these colorful leaves with the rest of the family in Out On The Limbs: Searching For Answers In The Family Tree.

This is collection which illustrates how one family tree can give shade to the entirety of American history. Each leaf has a little more to add to my family history just as each piece of fall foliage adds to an autumnal landscape. All different trees offering a different variety of colors but working in unison to tell the same story. These essays offer a cross section of topics which includes recent additions to my family tree, interesting resources or programs, and discoveries that have given greater depth to the lives of my ancestors.

The final project in this initial push is the one that means the most to me. Again, these are posts from the blog which spans the past year and a half. This time around, I collected all the posts about the pregnancy and my first year of fatherhood into a single volume. You could even say that this is a baby book taken to the next level. For me this book is a gift to my son and hopefully something that first time parents, especially fathers, will enjoy. After all, it does tell the reader about The Good, The Bad, And The Adorable: My First Year As A Father.

After my son was born I found myself having conversations with other parents about some of the interesting things that I should anticipate happening during the first year. I had not heard about any of these antidotes before and so I wanted to start writing more regularly about these usually humorous occurrences. Arranged chronologically, this book is a collection of both those early posts of doctor appointments and preparations for arrival as well as the more interesting moments that I experienced during my first year as a father.

Well, that is what has been keeping me busy over the last couple of months and partly why there have been times when I have fallen behind on these daily posts. There are other books that I am currently working on but that is a completely different post for another day. In the meantime, if you happen to read any of these books I would appreciate hearing your thoughts and, hopefully, they proved to be worth the purchase price. Four down and countless volumes to go!