Books

WHAT A FUTURE

I’m excited to announce the release of my first book in many years, What a Future. It’s a collection of poems written in Spring 2020 as pandemic and lockdown descended on NYC. You can order at the STORE or buy from Amazon here.

  • Pub Date: December 7, 2020
  • Pages: 66
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781735420608

cover design by Jake Thomas

I’m excited to announce the release of my first book in many years, What a Future. It’s a collection of poems written in Spring 2020 as pandemic and lockdown descended on NYC. I’m publishing it under a little small press I’m starting, Sunshine and Wind, which will be the home for at least nine other similar publications (they sell ISBNs in a ten-pack bundle) over the next however many years. You can follow this all in real time at www.sunshineandwind.com

What follows is a little bit of background on the book and how I came to write it, if you’re interested. My experience of the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, was, I suspect, not all that dissimilar from a lot of people’s experience. There was fear and uncertainty as I struggled to get information about what was happening. Loved ones lost their jobs and got sick. Many close friends were anxious and depressed from being isolated, or were feeling helpless and separated from support circles. And many still are.

At least early on, I found it difficult to focus on doing anything creative. I was still setting aside time for it, mostly out of a kind of artistic inertia, but given the state of the world (not to mention all the writing group meetups, shows, open mics, and band rehearsals that were cancelled) it was hard to keep it as any kind of priority. So as the crisis went on, the couple of projects I was working on fell off. This was fine, of course. It happens.

Sometime in early May I heard about antibody testing. The city had set up labs where you could get tested for Coronavirus antibodies, and if you were positive, you knew you’d been exposed. Then you could donate plasma and help  doctors learn more about the disease. I made an appointment at the testing center in Sunnyside, and that Friday made the trip on foot from Astoria. I was ushered expediently through the process: forehead temperature gun at the door, then into this empty warehouse with 100 foot ceilings, where the medical staff drew my blood at one of dozens of these little makeshift stations while I sat in a little middle school desk. It was a surreal experience. 

When I got home, I wrote about it. Later, I wrote some more. I was just trying to record my impressions and things I saw or that struck me. I didn’t feel any pressure to be deep or lyrical. I just wanted to approach it with as clear an eye as possible, and keep my writing sessions short. Chasing this project felt like writing down the license plate number of a car speeding away, not even looking at the paper, just trying to catch as much of it as possible before the car drives off. I made sure I wrote every morning before work. At night I typed it up, sculpting the images into poems and putting them one after the other, in chronological order. 

I decided the project was done around poem number 75. Then I whittled and smushed and polished each one until it was either finished, or cut. I wanted 50. I ended up keeping 54. I’m really proud of each one, and of the collection as a whole, and I’m excited to get it into people’s hands. If you happen to read it I would love to know what you think.