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New Release – “Pain & Renewal: A Poetry Anthology,” Vita Brevis Press


Pleased to announce the release of the new anthology out of Vita Brevis Press, courtesy of editor, Brian Geiger. The anthology, “Pain & Renewal,” explores just that: the cycle, circle, that goes ’round and ’round, all our lives.

I appreciate Brian’s insight. He didn’t try to even the score with “this many” for poetry about pain and “that many” for themes of renewal.

He received more submissions for “pain,” and he honored that.  From the Introduction:

“Given the choice to write about pain or renewal, almost every poet chose pain – often exclusively.

“For this reason…I let pain take up the majority of this book. If poetry captures the human experience, and that is overwhelmingly defined by a fixation on pain, then let it be represented as such here. If nothing else, it makes renewal that much more profound.” – Brian Geiger, Editor, Vita Brevis

Bravo, Brian.

In a world where the smiling self(ie) and “negativity” in any form has been demonized, I applaud his call for authenticity and his commitment to the art of being human.

I’d like to add that it isn’t so much we’re fixated on pain, but rather pain has been fixated on us. And rather than capitulating to the world, “with its harsh need to change” us, and reconceiving pain as a whitewashed fairy tale obfuscated by denial or pathologized via “diagnoses” and “disorders,” we take what is dark and undesirable and turn it into something beautiful.

In fact, I’d daresay that poets have no more darkness in them than someone who doesn’t write. But for those who have the courage and compassion to face their own pain, they are doing something only relegated to the many mythological saviors of the world: taking on the pain of the world and making it their own, then taking their own pain and exploring it through The Word, for the world.

For all of those who suffer–and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t to one degree or another–human suffering transcends race, gender, age, creed and political lines. It unites us in that the only thing we can guarantee is we will feel pain. And if we can feel pain and know it, intimately, we are less likely to inflict it. At least I hope we’d aspire to that.

As a poet, it’s my job to open myself up to pain–and as poets, we all do it–and we do it  willingly. Then, we use our words to transform it, not in the glorification of it, but as a light at the end of a dark night of the soul. As a reason why we endure the burning. We do it to connect to our own humanity, and then those who read us.

When we write, we suffer with you. Then, it isn’t “my” pain, “his” pain, “their” pain, or “other people’s pain.”

It’s our pain. Ours, together–we aren’t alone in it anymore. That’s the redemption. There is nothing worse than believing no one suffers as you, or as badly.

Looking forward to reviewing this book, and while a couple of my poems make an appearance, I’m extremely eager to discover my compatriots in poetry–and the renewal they offer in the very selfless acts of embracing their pain–then writing it.

Je te vois, and as always–




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