We know the things we love because they are the things that destroy us, melt us, pulverise us, reduce us part by part to our most basic elements but somehow manages to keep us whole and propped up by a divine integrity; more solid, more sure than we ever were before.
– Juan-Paolo Perre
“The past year has been a significant one for me. The end of 2014 saw the release of my début collection of poetry, “A Confederacy of Joy”, the result of a prodigal return of sorts to poetry after 30 years of polishing other parts of my mosaic-ed life.
I dedicated the book to the poet Philip Levine who had been a guiding force in my life and a kindred spirit since being introduced to his work by the poet Jon Davis, then editor at the literary magazine CUTBANK, in 1981.
His death on 14. February of this year came as a heavy blow to me in particular. You see I’m not sure if my mentor ever got a chance to read my book, the book that was informed in large part by him and dedicated to him.
I have a tradition on Labor Day of each year to revisit his poem, “What Work Is” and to post it widely across social media in an offering of my respect and esteem to his resounding visionary voice. This year, tinged with a mix of sorrow, gratitude and recollection, I’ve decided to record this spoken word version of his powerful poem.”
Please listen and share freely.
[Los Angeles – London UK]
7. September 2015
Three years ago, after the shootings in Newtown and whilst preparing my first collection for publication, I was angry and frustrated with that event and its handling, particularly, by the media. I vowed that with each such subsequent shooting in America I would issue a new revision. At the point that my book went to press there had already been several more shootings.
When the book was published I stopped doing revisions as it gave me no satisfaction to do so. In fact, its sole effect was like a tolling of a bell, a resounding and penetrating sonic gash that brought more anger, more frustration.
A couple of days ago I read an article by Caroline Mortimer in “The Independent” newspaper stating that since Sandy Hook,
I am moved to revisit this poem once again, no revision, just a melancholic regard once more.