Is It Here?

If you mean Rocking Like It’s All Intermezzo: 21st Century Psalm Responsorials, the answer is a resounding YES! I am so pleased with every aspect and deeply grateful to everyone who helped bring this beautiful book into existence! All the skilled people at Wipf and Stock, for sure! And, Sofia Starnes who wrote the incredible Foreword. And my generous endorsers, Mary Ann Miller, Nathaniel Hansen, and Angela O’Donnell. And what can I possibly say about my good friend, Deborah Thorne Mazzone and Charles C. Bradley? They made the poems come to life in a way that astonished even me!

Writers frequently say that they find out what they really think only when they write. I had that experience reflecting on the poems in Rocking. In preparing an informational packet for the book and answering a series of questions, I discovered what amounts to a summary of my basic beliefs and, I hope, the Cliff Notes to the book. Concerning the poems, I wrote: They reflect my deepest, innermost thoughts, even, it could be said, my life coda: that we all live with bits of darkness, whether we call it our shadow side or sin; that intention is our program, forgiveness our tool; and that we live in a necessarily disintegrating body in the matrix of time, within the Divine, where everything matters at the same time as nothing does.

Wow! I guess that about says it all! The entire interview can be found in the press kit for Rocking at the link on this website. The book, in paperback and in hardcover (my very good friend, who will remain nameless unless she deems otherwise, has the only existing hardcover copy!), is available at the Wipf and Stock website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, among other places. It is available as an ebook download at the Amazon Kindle store or on Google Play. Best of all, the audiobook, produced by Overit Studio in Albany, NY, is available on Audible at Amazon. I’d like to see it eventually elsewhere, but these outlets cover all the bases. Please contact me with any questions!

Can You Stay Focused?

I doubt it. I left my comfort zone a long time ago. But I’m grateful that my book Rocking Like It’s All Intermezzo: 21st Century Psalm Responsorials will soon be available from your favorite sources, including Wipf and Stock and, of course, Amazon. More details later, when I have them.

I am thrilled with the beautiful Foreword by Sofia M. Starnes, and so grateful for the wonderful endorsements from Mary Ann Miller, Nathaniel Hansen, and Angela Alaimo O’Donnell. I have felt the support of these generous, accomplished (and busy) poet-editor-scholars throughout the entire process.

Equally exciting has been taping the audiobook version of the book at Overit Studios in Albany, New York. I decided it was important to read the first and the last poems in my own voice, however quavery it sounds. Deborah Thorne Mazzone read Sofia Starnes’ wonderful Foreword and most of the poems. She was joined for four key God poems by Charles “Chip” Bradley. To be clear, the poems in God’s voice in the book version are italicized, but we needed a sonorous voice to differentiate the oracular voice in the audio version. I know; I’ve already been asked, “Does it have to be a male voice?” No, of course, it doesn't. Nevertheless, let’s say hello to the newest God in town, and he does happen to be a man.

There is much work for an author to do to promote her book, and I will be doing my best. But satisfaction comes more from writing than from book promotion. Sorry, Rocking! Fortunately, I am working on an exciting project (that will probably take me another ten years, says my inner critic). A series of acrostics based on the names of 20th Century religious figures or philosophers. Very work intensive, and probably not accessible or interesting to audiences who don’t already know these figures. (You can guess what part of me made that prediction.) I am researching figures in whom I’m interested, their work and their biographies, and daring to project the Eureka moment of their passing. Persona Death Poems, shall we say?

My thanks to Sarah Law, the editor of Amethyst Review, a journal of new writing engaging with the sacred, based in the UK, for publishing one of this series, Simone Weil.

How Is That Book Coming Along?

Funny, you should ask! Getting close to publication day! Rocking Like It’s All Intermezzo: 21st Century Psalm Responsorials. Resource Publications, 2019. So… I’m squeaking the publication of my first book into this decade, after all.

I’ve had my doubts. Despite a few encouragingly close calls to publish other manuscripts, this one is in a printing queue somewhere. Thanks to the concerted efforts of many people, some of whom I know, but most of whom I’ve never met, it’s happening within the month.

I had my first peek at the cover this week. Designed by Shannon Carter of Wipf and Stock. I’d been wondering what “rocking” image she would build on, and it’s a storm-tossed sea. Perhaps she took her inspiration “Paths” (Psalm 77. 19):

All of which is to say, Lord:

On these great waters of Yours,

how do I not drown?

Unless I hear otherwise, I’m going with that.

And even better, the incomparably-voiced Deborah T. Mazzone will be reading the poems for an audiobook, to be released simultaneously with the publication of Rocking as a paperback and ebook. She will add dramatic depth to what are now words on a page. I am very grateful for her willingness to do this—and excited to hear the finished product!