“Nothing Remembers”, Michael Dickel / Review, Interview, Poems

…………………………………..The memories
of living fall around the lives
once lived, leave a hole in the
pumice. The emptiness fills with words –
narrative and song. That is why I write
with rain drops on your windows
as the train speeds by the valleys
indifferently. That is why the ghosts
do not speak to me or to you.
That is why no one noticed

as I left the train again.

except from Return from Pompeii in Nothing Remembers, Michael Dickel



In his latest collection, Nothing Remembers (Finishing Line Press, August 2019), American-Israeli poet, writer, songwriter, photographer and artist (also husband, dad, teacher), Michael Dickel takes us with him on a wide exploration of our world in all our recollections and amnesias, a distant contemporary relative of A la recherché du temps (In Search of Lost Time/Proust). It is rather noble in its observations, I think, calling us to the domain of our questions and sacred imagination, exploring the place of memory, re-visioning, and of human activity and perception in the varied landscapes of our hearts and souls and this Earth.

I found Nothing Remembers to be in effect a guided meditation on the vista and meaning of history and culture, personal and communal pathways, and the possible/probable relevance of memory, poetry, and connection: humans and their experiences as part of nature, as geologic memory, as archives of history. Recommended without reservation.

The poems from Nothing Remembers are published here today with Michael’s permission.

INTERVIEW

JAMIE: In reading the poems in this collection, I felt strong sense of their rising out of the ancient soil of Israel and other geologies of heart and soul. Would you speak to this, to what we could perhaps say is the collection’s ontological roots?

MICHAEL: I suppose exploring metaphysical questions such as memory and death (or its perceptions and effects)—main themes of Nothing Remembers—invites a metaphysical question about how these poems came to be. The title poem in particular rises out of the geography of Israel, my mother’s death, and buried in the detailed description of place, the ruins of Tel Megiddo. Tel Meggido is better known by its ancient name of Armageddon, the site of a great ancient battle that inspired apocalyptic visions down to our time.


Nothing remembers
where in our times we these rocks piled into buildings
that fell down a thousand years ago dis(re)membered from war
or earthquake raised and razed again into where nothing
recalls again the warm day anemones bloom hollyhocks
poppies forget no one and another rain day another dry day
pass hot and cold while an orvani drops blue feathers in flight
a hawk sits calmly on a fencepost and flocks of egrets
traipse toward the sea no cattle no grains all harvested
in this place we would call holy land nothing left to it but conflict
with the passing of her life that tried so hard to hang onto one
moment many moments missed so many more empty echoes
a difficult way to say goodbye to a mother watching her
evaporate like rain in the desert her mind dust that dries
lips her droned words faded as warmth from a midnight rock
meaning what the layers of history these rocks un-piled
reveal sepia photos a couple of tin-types dust school
reports cards newspaper holes the shells of bugs raised and razed
again and again into our times where nothing remembers
.
The poem Nothing Remembers is also on The BeZine, along with two other poems .

MICHAEL: That poem and this book as a whole, however, are more related to the archaeological term tel than to Armageddon. A tel is a place that has been built, razed, and then rebuilt on the ruins so many times that it makes a large layered mound—often a sizable hill with steep sides. Layered beneath the latest new construction, these ruins shape the base (the hill), but also the culture, legends, and of course the history of the newest “place.” In our times, many of the constructions at the top have also become historical ruins.

Memory is like this. Metaphorically, every pace has these deep layers. The human layers only make up a thin part of the geological layers. And perhaps memory has this depth too. So do our lives. And, in fact, so does death. All of these ideas have roots in geology, geography, culture, language. And from those roots, perhaps, grow (at least some of) these poems.

So from where specifically do the poems in Nothing Remembers get their being? Certainly in place, and the deep geology of place. Israel, where I’ve lived about a dozen years now, has amazing geology. Seabed thrown up to the sky. Basalt outcropping from volcanic action. The deep rift of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, the Mediterranean basin, deserts, mountains. The human layers, geography (and history) go back before modern Homo Sapiens, with Neolithic sites. Flint ridges and springs of the Jerusalem mountains border the Mediterranean basin and Judean Desert, and have attracted migrating human ancestors and humans for millennia.

In addition, many of the poems started in Italy, during my sojourn there for the 100 Thousand Poets for Change International Conference, Salerno, Italy 2015. Thus Pompeii makes an appearance or two, and while only named perhaps once, the streets of Salerno, as well as the rest of the Amalfi Coast. The layers are no less deep, and the histories of Italy and Israel intertwine back to the Roman era, at least.

JAMIE: It sounds as though place is important in your writing. Are you saying that you write about place?

MICHAEL: I don’t think so. Place definitely matters to me and often place—its resonances and dissonances in particular—thus inspires and informs my writing. But always place arrives for me necessarily through its human dimension of how it shapes human perceptions and understandings. Often, especially in the last section of the book that focuses more on mortality—funerals, mourning, and again, memory—place emphasizes both the fleetingness of life and the longevity of memory. Geology is a form of memory. The limestone and its fossils reminds us of long gone seas and creatures. Perhaps we will one day be fossils, too. We spring from geology and we return to it, in the end. Several cemeteries appear in the last section. Yet, I don’t think I’m writing about the places, especially the cemeteries. I’m writing about humanity. I think.

Ultimately, of course, the poems come into being in me, from how I experience and think in the world, and my contemplations, such as what I’ve just laid out about our human place in this vast geological tel called earth. But that’s a different sense of place—where do we belong in the world, not where are we in it. Maybe, how we belong in / to the world, and how the world belongs in / to us. Belong isn’t quite right, but I’m not sure what is better. Fit? How do we fit in the world, how does the world fit in us? Perhaps this is as much about displacement as place, the displacement of memory.

I am in the end, I would say, more interested in the vast networks of relationships and associations we make with others, with this world we live in, with geography and with geology than I am interested in place itself. What you call geologies of heart and soul, that’s my “place.”

How can I paint these multiple relationships in words and images? How can I echo them in sound and rhythm? Can I even know them? Probably, I can’t know, and I can’t rely on memory to tell me.

So, I resort to images. Poetry, for me, is most about images placed in context to each other in such a way as to shift our perceptions. Place, geography, geology, the tel—these are all images standing in for where I can’t articulate what I sense in the world.

JAMIE: What is the one key thing you would like readers to walk away with from this collection?

MICHAEL: I would like people to walk away with a sense of contact with the poems, a sense of more than the surface of the world, just beyond our understanding, waiting for us to notice it. Perhaps, they might have a sense of our shared humanity, and a sense of their own depths of connection and unique perception of the imagery in the poems. I hope people walk away with a curiosity and questions to which they would like to give consideration…on their own paths, in their own journeys.

JAMIE: When does Nothing Remembers come out? Where can readers purchase it?

Nothing Remembers is due in late August. I’ve heard from the publisher that the printer has been behind schedule with other books this spring, so I’ve been saying late summer. Right now readers can place advanced orders through Finishing Line Press .

JAMIE: What’s next on your literary journey/adventure?

MICHAEL: My life journey has taken me into the medical world with a diagnosis of and treatment for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. (Treatment has proceeded well, and my prognosis is excellent.) I am now mostly writing from the experience of cancer and incorporating that into my poetry. I am writing memoir or journals (I think Audre Lorde possibly wrote the definitive Cancer Journal)—or not yet, anyway, I should say as I don’t know where the writing will take me.

The first published piece from this work, The Crab, in The BeZine, is flash fiction that, like much fiction, captures some emotional reality of (my) having cancer (the crab). I have sent some poems out for consideration. And a folder floating on my computer cloud has more work, not all of it finished. I expect this work will be a future collection when the body of work is there. The working title is Etz Chaim (Tree of Life). As always, I continue writing about social issues, the 100TPC and The BeZine themes of peace, sustainability, and social justice.


Teachers
For my children
i
Teachers come to us again and again
and we learn from them what we will.
We give them in return only a
thin immortality. We hope for gentleness.
We dream of our old teachers often.
The bullies shout, “get the lead out”
as every muscle concentrates
on the knowledge that we cannot win this race.
ii
Teachers come to us again and again
and we learn from them what we will.
We give them in return only a
thin immortality. We hope for gentleness.
The gentle ones quietly step away,
letting go as we pedal furiously and discover
that miraculously we have found balance
while pushing forward to the next road.
iii
We sat at table eating phô, another lunch
where you ask questions that I never thought.
I try to catch these waves as they break toward shore
and wonder that you came to me last night in a dream.
In our own teaching, we find our voices
raised all too often. Yet, somehow, I step
back as you light into a world I will
not know, unless you take me along.
excerpt from Nothing Remembers

Michael Dickel

MICHAEL DICKEL (Meta /Phor (e) /Playhas won international awards and been translated into several languages. His latest poetry collection, Nothing Remembers, will come out late summer 2019 from Finishing Line Press. A poetry chapbook, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism, came out in 2017 (free PDF ). His flash fiction collection, The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, came out in 2016. Previous books include: War Surrounds Us, Midwest / Mid-East, and The World Behind It, Chaos…(archived free PDF ). He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36, was managing editor for arc-23 and 24, and is a past-chair of the Israel Association of Writers in English. He publishes and edits Meta/ Phor(e) /Play and is a contributing editor of The BeZine. He grew up in the US Midwest and now lives in Jerusalem, Israel.



ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)

A mostly bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, (Meta /Phor (e) /Play, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor.

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton



WRITING YOUR SELF, Transforming Personal Material with John Killick & Myra Schneider

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“We wrote the book because we believe that personal writing is very potent both for the writer and the reader, because some of the greatest literature is rooted in personal material.” Myra Schneider in an interview with Jamie Dedes

It always seems to me that writing  about life – “personal material” –  is a healing activity, a way to live hugely, and a way to empower ourselves and others. Whether we do it for ourselves alone or whether our purpose is to leave history behind for family, to set the record straight, or simply to share and entertain, the experience is rewarding.

Writing Your Self is a comprehensive book organized into two parts:

  • Part I: Here the focus is on life experiences, the exploration of those human experiences that are universal. These include childhood, self-concepts, relationships, displacement, physical and mental illness and disability, and abuse.
  • Part II: Here the focus is on writing techniques, recognizing material that is unfinished, working on refinements, and developing work projects.

Writing Your Self is rich with examples from unknown (students) and known writers including the authors. By example as well as explanation the authors reinforce what we intuitively understand to be true: that telling stories preserves identity and clarifies the human condition. It helps us understand what it means to be human. The experience of working through the book is rather like a rite of passage.

I can see the use of this book by individuals training themselves and by teachers of adult learners who wish to write memoir, poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction. It would be useful in hospital therapeutic writing programs or in writing programs for active seniors.

Memories, both recent and distant, tell us who we are and so play a crucial role in our experience of life…

You may have memories which you want to plunge into or you may have material like a diary or letters which summon them up. There are other ways though of triggering memories. We offer a series of suggestions. Chapter 13, Accessing memories, secret letters, monologues and dialogues, visualizations.

Chapter 13 alone is worth the price of admission. I work a lot off of childhood memories and even the event that happened two minutes ago comes back to me with a dreamlike quality when I sit to write. I have not thought of the things I do naturally as triggers, but indeed they are. It was quite interesting to see these natural aids laid-out in the book: objects and place as starting points, physical sensation as triggers, people in memory and predominant feelings. The section on secret letters – that is, letters that you write someone and never send – was interesting. I’m sure it would make a fine jumping-off point for some. The authors go on to monologues and dialogues and visualization. We all do those things in our heads anyway. If you can see it or hear it in your mind, you can write it.

If you are inexperienced or stuck midway in a transition from one form of writing to another, you’ll benefit from the exercises, ideas, and instruction in Writing Your Self: Transforming Personal Experience. If you are a more experienced writer, you might find this book will stimulate the muse. This text is a definite thumbs-up.

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Myra Schneider  is a British poet, a poetry and writing tutor, and author of the acclaimed book: Writing My Way Through Cancer.

John Killick was a teacher for 30 years, in further, adult and prison education. He has written all his life. John Killick’s work includes both prose works and poetry. 

The Door to Colour … Part 2

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Yesterday in Part 1 of this piece I closed with …

“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech.”
~Simonides of Ceos (556-468 BCE), Greek lyric poet

I chose that quote for two reasons.  First, Myra Schneider‘s way with poetry lends truth to Simonides’ observation that “poetry is painting with the gift of speech.”  Second, Simonides was known in his day for presenting the human condition in terms that were basic yet moving. I’ve never been able to find enough of Simonides’ work to confirm that for myself. I suspect that not much of his work survives for anyone to really know. However, I have read a great deal of Myra’s work. I can say with confidence that her canvas is lively and colorful, her poetic sensibility accessible and affective.

There is nothing that does not seem to lend itself to poetry in Myra’s mind. Nature. Art. Music. Beauty. Humanity. Events great and small. Even those things that some would see as too pedestrian to inspire are ink in Myra’s pen, inspiration for meditations on larger concerns. For example, from Circling the Core (Enitharmon Press), the poem Milk Bottle shared with readers in the May 2015 issue of The BeZine. These are subjects to be explored and savored in Myra’s poetry … and never more so than in her newest collection.

The Door to Colour (Enitharmon Press) came out last November.  (I’m sorry to present this review so late. Life sometimes gets in the way of intention, but the operative word is “life.”) Short story: I enjoyed it. I recommend it. It is worth – in fact it calls for – frequent and careful reading. And, if you find yourself recuperating from some devastating event, you will surely find balm in the artistry of this collection and its shared experience of life with all its colors and shadows.

The Door to Colour starts with a simple piece, Le Citron, after Monet’s painting of the same name and includes several poems inspired by works of art or music.

There’s the human element, of course, and one of my faves, His Room, which everyone who has ever raised a child will appreciate. “On the door: posters, cuttings/and a warning: Parents Keep Out,/I knock, Am admitted . . .’I’ve got to find out if life/has any meaning,’ he tells me/He is fifteen, I am forty-five …/and the meanings I’d thought I’d found/have vanished. But behind him/I see myself at fifteen overwhelmed …”

And then there’s the poem Silence, which asks “what colour is noise?” It’s one to post above your computer. In Panic you’ll likely recognize yourself.

The narrative poem, Minotaur ends the collection. It is an alternate view of the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and it will stay with you long after reading. This poem moves, moves, moves.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Throw, for its details. The Throw is “kind to my uncomfortable body,” It is a poem to which you’ll relate if you are of an age when discomfort is your constant companion.

The poem, Cloud, made me think of Rilke for its concern, not its style. “I can’t believe/the divine exists in a fixed place overhead-/isn’t god the energy driving the universe/the dimensions of its mathematics visible/in patterns on this planet …” And let me whet your appetite with this tidbit from Garden: ” . . . Go/into the garden where dandelions pit themselves/against primroses …” 

The door to color turns out to be the door to transformation and transcendence and no doubt the reading is as deeply felt as the writing was … Each poem asks to be devoured . . .

… and so to close this piece – with Myra’s permission – the gift of two poems for you to read from The Door to Colour … Enjoy!

LOST

after Chagall: Adam et Eve chassés du Paradis

There is no music now in paradise.
The garden’s ripped by cries of consternation,
a blinding white circle of face belongs

to a figure whose body is flower-blur
and stems twinned with leaves, a figure
inseparable from this place, its din.

There is no music now in paradise.
Tranquillity is a shrivelled fruit, trees
wrenched from roots are hurtled to the sky,

birds plummet to ocean, stampeding hooves
smash grasses. The tempter’s vanished,
panic-bitten humans are in flight.

There is no music now in paradise.
The word sin hisses in ears, guilt
lays its eggs, hearts work like clappers,

selves are in tatters. Though daisies
will rise again, moments gleam with sound
there is no music now in paradise.

– Myra Schneider

ON THE TRAIN

Sometimes when the computer’s in sulk,
when you’ve failed to appease your partner,
mother, child or cat, when you’ve hurried
down roads hoping to escape the conundrum
of yourself or limped from the dentist’s to daylight
with all the stuffing knocked from body and mind
even though pain is no longer boring into your teeth,
all you can do is climb chilling flights of steps,
clamber on board and thank god or your lucky stars
that no one’s bellowing the obvious into a mobile.
All you can do is gaze at the backsides of houses,
their clumsy sheds and drooping lines of washing,
at hoardings, factories, and outbursts of October leaves,
at glints from sudden streams, interludes of grass.
All you can do is accept the sumptuous dark of chocolate
melting in your mouth, gaze at the magenta lipstick
filling a double-spread in the magazine you picked up
at Whistlestop, imagine buying it though you never
colour your face, then feel inferior as you read
about the woman who rules the National Trust.
All you can do is smack shut the complacent pages
and look at the everyday girl who’s sitting opposite.
Her pinkish high-heeled shoes are fragile as slippers,
her face is creased with fatigue. You doubt she could rule
a pocket-sized kitchen or a stack of pots in a shed
but you can’t take your eyes off her handbag,
its amber clip, the silvergold lustre of its fabric,
the zips to its many enticing compartments.

– Myra Schneider

IMG_0032-1” . . . reading, writing and sharing poems is healing and if one is to be fully involved in writing it is crucial to read poetry and read poems closely.” Myra Schneider in an interview with me, February 2011.

© 2015, review, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; 2015, poems and photographs, Myra Schneider, All rights reserved

“Petrichor Rising” and how the Twitterverse birthed friendships that in turn birthed a poetry collection

product_thumbnail-3.php“I always had this notion that you earned your living and that poetry was a grace.” Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), Irish, poet, playwright, translator, educator and Nobel Prize winner

I’m sure my friend, John Anstie, poet and renaissance man, The Bardo Group core team member, and editor of and contributor to Petrichor Rising (eBook and paperback), a 2013 poetry collection of The Grass Roots Poetry Group (GRPG), would prefer that I focused on the poems and the collection. The feature-writer in me loves a good story though. (Forgive me, John!) The coming together of this group and the publication of their collection is as good a story as any and better than most … and hence, I break my usual self-imposed word limit on posts. Read on … You may recognize yourself in some of this …

“I do accounting. I am a writer.” an employee corrected me when I introduced him as an accountant.

I spent many years in the employment and training field, serving in sundry positions and writing columns, feature articles and journal pieces ad nauseam about recruiting and job search, chosing careers, assessing post-secondary vocational education programs, structuring community programs for at-risk populations (read the poor and marginalized), as well as writing about labor and job market trends including changes evolving out of advances in technology.

Wherever I worked whether it was counseling, placing executives in career positions or teaching career development and job search to ex-offenders or people transitioning off welfare, I found the same thing. Scratch the surface of almost anyone and you will find an artist.  Several of the poets to this anthology earn or have earned their living doing something other than writing. John Anstie talks about discovering his “inner poet.” At core, we are creators.  This is a great truth about human beings.

It used to be that most evidence of creativity ended in storage somewhere: dresser drawers, file cabinets, attics or garages … until the accessibility of social networking and self-publishing via blogs, videos, blog radio and other venues. Now  creatives have easy means to deliver their work independently and to find their own audiences, modest but genuine. No longer unknown, these poets and artists join the ranks of lesser-knows. They also have a wider opportunity to meet others with the same interests and values.  Put the mix together – a wonderous serendipity – and the birth of productive collaborations …

Freinds in the Forest (eCollage by Anu) (c) all rights reserved
Friends in the Forest (eCollage by Anu) (c) all rights reserved

“As far as I recall, it all started with freshly-baked lemon drizzle cake . . . ‘@peterwilkin1: Good Morning. Coffee & lemon drizzle cake, anyone?’ …. One may be forgiven for thinking the GRPG is an international social network-based association for the deep appreciation and virtual consumption of cyber cake and other comestibles. Indeed this is what they do, but they also do something else remarkable – they write poetry – delightful, delicious, scrumptious, tasty, and delectable at that, poetry.” Introduction, Craig Morris

And thus it began, with friendly – often quick-witted – Twitter chat and an affinity evolved. Two years later Petrichor Rising was born and featured artwork by one, the Introduction by another, and the poetry of the rest.  How did they pull it all together?

Interview with John Anstie

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JAMIE: Expanding on your piece about editing Petrichor Rising (posted this evening on The Bardo Group): Learning to use language gracefully and words accurately is a lifelong challenge (and a pleasure); but editing English when the works are from such diverse regions of the world throws extra spice into the mix. There are many variations on the themes of grammar, spelling, and on syllable accent and speech inflection, how did you approach that particular challenge?

JOHN: Your first question is not a question, it is several questions, which, as you imply, could take me a lifetime (and possibly a few pages) to answer! But the simplest way I can answer this is to be entirely honest. By and large, I took each piece as it was presented and interpreted it as it was written. Grammar and spelling was not really a problem, since I left the words spelled as they were presented; my two North American friends, Jackie and Joe, if they used American English spelling, that’s how it stayed, of course. There were few issues in the grammar department. As for syllable stress and speech inflection, I had little issue with the effects of these on scansion, since almost all of the poems, except some of my own, were pretty much in the ‘free verse’ form. But you certainly have raised a valid issue for editors of international poetry collections.
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JAMIE: How did you work out the collaboration? The book is admirably unified and surely there must have been some back-and-forth about which poems to use from each poet and how to organize the sequence.

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JOHN: Over the two years of its gestation, there were a few changes of poems. Some of the original poems submitted were withdrawn, because of submissions elsewhere and a handful were edited and resubmitted for inclusion. The sequence was the greatest challenge for me. Initially, I asked each poet to attach key words or tags to each of their own poems, from which I intended to attempt dividing the whole body of work into sections. That didn’t work, simply because I inevitably ended up with too many key words. In the end, after we’d decided on the title, I felt it important that any themed sections should reflect the theme of the title in some way. So I worked through the whole collection of sixty-five or so poems and categorised them myself. The three sections were the end result of that part of my work on the book.
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JAMIE: Have you had the opportunity to speak by phone or meet in person with any of the members of the Group? If so, what was that experience like.
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JOHN: Five of us live in the UK. It was Louise, who bravely blazed a trail to Yorkshire to stay with Peter and his wife for a week. I guess she judged him to be trustworthy enough (and not the mad axe murderer he might have been!). I  journeyed up to meet them both on neutral ground. We spent a fruitful and enjoyable day in each other’s company. Shan and Abi were the next to visit Yorkshire. I’ve lost count of how many times we met after that, including a couple of poetry readings at Ally Wilkin’s shop “Crystal Space” (one of the locations in Peter’s and Marsha’s joint publication, “Brianca and The Crystal Dragons”). All of this was capped in a confluence in May 2012, when the five of us from the UK, along with Joe and Quirina, who flew in from Albany, New York and Germany, came together in London – photos of this are in my Facebook album of that day HERE.
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It was a very happy day, but one that wasn’t long enough for us all. Finally, last June, Marsha came to the UK for a conference in Leeds. She lodged with Peter and Ally for the first part of her stay and with me for the last part. It was very special to meet her too. So, in answer to your question, I’ve met nearly all of them; only Jackie in New York and Craig in South Africa have yet to meet us. Quite incredible, considering we only met on Twitter two and a half years ago! One final twist to this tale, to cut a long story short, is that Abigail turns out to be the daughter of an old school friend of mine, whom I had very recently met up with again along with another friend! It’s a very small world!
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JAMIE: What made you choose print-on-demand over ebook? Does the GRPG plan to offer the book in ebook format? It a lovely volume, and I think would make a fine addition to anyone’s poetry library. These days, though, many appreciate ebooks for their portability as well as the saving grace of saving shelf-space.
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JOHN: Print on demand, in the end, seems like a very sensible choice. Self publishing would have been difficult, deciding how big a print run dramatically affects the cost-per-unit economies. However, it was the publisher, Aquillrelle, who determined the route to print and we chose them, because they had published Marsha’s collection, “Spinning”, and she was very impressed with their service and attention to detail. It proved to be a good choice for me, as their Chief Editor, did have a keen eye for detail. As for the ebook, Amazon should have produced one by now, but it’s not happened yet. I suspected it might be a demand thing; I’m not sure. Even though I own an iPad Mini, which is, of course, a perfect ebook reader, it has to be said that I prefer to have a real book in my hands.
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Note: I see that Lulu has an eBook available since we did this interview. The link is above in the opening paragraph. Jamie
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JAMIE: Would you do it all again and if so, why?
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JOHN: I think the answer is yes, probably, but not in the same way. What would I do differently? I couldn’t answer that until I saw the material I was working with. However, there are two more projects on my horizon before another anthology comes along. The first is going to be some kind of account of the story of an historic house, gardens and estate, for which my wife and I are members of the volunteer teams. The second may be my own first full collection. Then, for the sake of my family history, maybe I ought to complete my own autobiography.
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Book Review in Brief
 Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.
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I dislike using the word “accessible.” There have been times when I’ve wondered if that is code for a lack of intricacy or profundity. The work here is comprehensible but still complex. The poems move from nostalgia to appreciation, from the beauty of nature to the frailties of humanity, from sorrow to hope. From Craig Morris’ Introduction, which sets the mood, to Joe Hesch’s theme poem Petrichor, which closes the book, it’s a joy. Well organized with the weather metaphor as the through line, the sections are The Drought, Gathering Storm, and The Rain. Its hallmark is the show of humanity at its best.
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This morning I will cast open the curtains, chasing the fear away
and hold this crystal up to the sunlight, releasing my soul to fly

– Prism, Abigal Baker

…. and at its worst

Haunted by
proper thoughts
of his wife at home
he wryly recollects
how he told her
before friends and family
on their silver anniversary
“I love every wrinkle,
every scar I celebrate,
such wonderous depths
are etched upon your body
a cartography of our marriage
I love the silver in the gold
of our hair”
then renewed
his marriage vows
his fingers crossed,
avoiding his own reflection
in the mirror

– Cracks of Angst: A Portrait of an Unhappy Man, Marsha Berry

Both my thumbs up on this one. There’s still time to order Petrichor Rising for the holidays and profits go to UNICEF, making it a definite win-win.

© 2013, feature article, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
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