I am a writer and a swimmer and really related to this quote from Mary Oliver, the great Pulitzer-Prize winning poet. During this dark pandemic period, I find both writing and swimming have sustained me. I’m grateful I get to reserve a lane at my gym and swim six days a week (never on Sunday.) I have also been writing through this pandemic and I feel like it has been a lifesaver. It gives me purpose.
I wrote a collection of poems about my experiences with my partner, who died of Alzheimer’s in his sixties. I feel grateful that Finishing Line is publishing this work and it will be out in the world. The work around the publication, particularly, has sustained me during this dark time.
Set in the Santa Clara Valley during the turbulent sixties and seventies, REAL ESTATE is the story of how a bucolic agricultural valley is transformed into the iconic Silicon Valley.
As acres of apricot orchards are converted into suburban subdivisions, families flock to the area. Air Force pilot Joe Jackson moves his family to Sunnyvale soon after the Hopkins build their dream house. Harriet Jackson, her father’s eyes and ears, finds herself living next door to Bobby Hopkins, aspiring circus performer and math whiz. They share a side-yard fence, but the worlds they live in differ radically. A shared love of the Beatles and the loss of the inspiring young President Kennedy bring them together in an unlikely friendship, but their family’s differences soon tear them apart. While Harriet struggles to fulfill her family obligations. Bobby builds a computer in his garage.
They meet again as adults, but by then everything has changed. In the electric valley, both Harriet and Bobby learn that family is not always destiny and houses are sometimes more than a home.
eBook: ISBN: 978-1-005-23640-3
6″ x 9″, 186 pages. Printed on archival quality paper.
For any of us who watched the insurrection of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. last week, the words of Amanda Gorman, the inaugural poet, rings true. This poem was, ultimately, optimistic, portending a better future. Poetry can speak to us like nothing else when times are dark.
I wrote a collection of poetry after my partner died of Alzheimer’s Disease. It was a very dark time in my life. My partner, a brilliant mathematician, deteriorated quickly, leaving me in darkness. The writing of the poetry helped me to process what happened. I have been working on Touch My Head Softly with my publisher, Finishing Line Press, to finish the process. It has given me purpose through the pandemic.
I can’t listen to music with words, as it interferes with my word process, but wordless music, classic or jazz, can sometimes enhance my writing. A Bach piece with choral work or John Coltrane’s horn can bring me there.
I guess combining art forms is usually a good thing. I’ve happily done readings of my poetry in art galleries. I think the art enhances the reading. How do you use the arts to enhance your writing?
My upcoming book, Touch My Head Softly is due out in early 2021;
It’s always nice to have your work appreciated so I thought I’d share some reviews I’ve received in the last week for my upcoming book, Touch My Head Softly, on Goodreads. , Thank you to everyone who continues to support my writing and I hope to share more positive reviews in the weeks ahead. Have a great day wherever in the world you are.
“In Touch My Head Softly. Eileen P. Kennedy has written an extraordinarily book about the death of a male lover taken in middle age with Alzheimer’s Disease.” —Preston M. Browning, Jr., Director, Wellspring House Writer’s Retreat.
I’ve canoed and hiked in beautiful places all over the Northeast this fall. The nature sustains me. Writing sustains me. I have a new book, Touch My Head Softly, which will be out from Finishing Line Press in early 2021.
“I believe the world is beautiful and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone, and that my veins don’t end in me but in the unanimous struggle for life, love, little things, landscape and bread.”
-Graffiti on a wall in the Mission District of San Francisco
I believe poetry is for everyone. Although many people who read serious print matter and quality fiction do not read poetry, I think that this is their loss. The poetry coming out today is accessible, relevant and enjoyable in concept and sound. Take look at Billy Collins, Natasha Trethaway or even Louise Glück, the 2020 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Madlynn Haber lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. Her work appears in Letters to Fathers from Daughters, Anchor Magazine, Exit 13 Magazine and onwebsites including The Jewish Writing Project, Hevria, Right Hand Pointing, Mothers Always Write, Random Sample, Club Plum Literary Journal, Ariel Chart International Literary Journal, The Sunlight Press, Sparks of Calliope and Adelaide Literary Magazine. You can view her work at www.madlynnwrites.com
Contribute to her efforts to raise money for immigrants at the Center for New Americans at: