Write me: rjn@richardjnewman.com
<span class="dquo">“</span>Words for What Those Men Have Done” —  It’s Official and It’s a Launch!
Ican­not tell you how excit­ed I am that Words for What Those Men Have Done, my sec­ond full-length col­lec­tion of poet­ry, is offi­cial­ly in the world. And I am equal­ly excit­ed to announce the New York City book launch, which will be on Sun­day, Novem­ber 5th, from 7:00–8:30 PM, at Kew & Wil­low Books, 81–63 Lef­ferts Boule­vard in Kew Gar­dens. There’ll be wine and cheese; I’ll read some poems and sign some books; we’ll drink and chat; and it’ll be a cel­e­bra­tion of what poet­ry should cel­e­brate: com­mu­ni­ty and truth and the impor­tance of lan­guage in main­tain­ing both those vital aspects of life. I’m look­ing for­ward to mak­ing that cel­e­bra­tion with each of you! (There will also be a launch out in Suf­folk Coun­ty and one in Toron­to, home of my pub­lish­er, Guer­ni­ca Edi­tions. I will send out more infor­ma­tion about those events at a lat­er date.)

 

The poems in Words for What Those Men Have Done con­tin­ue the explo­ration I began in The Silence of Men, my first book, of how sur­viv­ing child­hood sex­u­al vio­lence has shaped my life. In The Silence of Men, I focused on end­ing the silence into which the men who vio­lat­ed me pushed me—a silence that encom­passed much more than the facts of what they did to me—forcing me to live with­out the words I need­ed to give mean­ing to my life. Word for What Those Men Have Done, on the oth­er hand, is ani­mat­ed by this ques­tion: What has it meant for me to com­mit myself nev­er to stand­ing on the same side of any­thing as those men? The book, in oth­er words, is not a “survivor’s mem­oir” in poet­ic form; it’s goal is not to arrive at a moment of tran­scen­dent heal­ing, though there are moments of heal­ing through­out. Rather, Words for What Those Men Have Done explores what the not-always-com­fort­able process of hold­ing myself account­able as a survivor—personally, polit­i­cal­ly, cul­tur­al­ly, and socially—feels like. This excerpt from the poem “Gen­der Pol­i­tics” cap­tures some of that feel­ing:

Learn­ing to write poems
has been eas­i­er than lov­ing peo­ple
and hard­er than count­ing syl­la­bles
but words grow
and sen­tences shape
time into mean­ing
and learn­ing to let that hap­pen
has been learn­ing to shape my body
and I am my body
into some­where I can live.

If you can come to the launch, it would be love­ly to see you. If you can’t, and you’d like to get a copy of the book, you can buy it on Ama­zon or direct­ly from the pub­lish­er. If you can, I hope you’ll con­sid­er doing the lat­ter, even though you may have to pay a lit­tle more for ship­ping. It’s more impor­tant than ever to sup­port inde­pen­dent book pub­lish­ers and Guer­ni­ca does impor­tant work, pub­lish­ing both Amer­i­can and Cana­di­an authors.

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