At Last, The Poems
It took more than two years, but my volume of poetry, Counting Blessings, has finally rolled off the press. You can order it direct from the publisher at cervenabarvapress.com; it should also get posted on Amazon before too long. Here is the description from the back cover, in any case:
Counting Blessings is an expression of gratitude for a life lived away from the madding crowd. This poetry collection was penned about a year after Berman moved to a small town in Mexico. With the frenzy of American life receding into the background, he was able to sink into the stillness of his new surroundings, allowing long-dormant creative energies to surface. In addition to Counting Blessings, he also wrote a novel and a collection of essays questioning the values of American society, roughly during the same time.
As it turns out, only a few of these poems are about life in Mexico per se. For the most part, Mexico provided the backdrop, the peaceful context in which the author’s unconscious processes were free to roam over the inner landscape, explore its contours and fine details. What emerged were vibrant memories of childhood and adolescence, of times lived abroad, of people who have come and gone. These lyrical poems capture the extraordinary essence of ordinary lived experience, and in doing so represent the true content of our lives, the simple core of what makes us human.
The poet Paul Christensen wrote of this work:
“The[se] poems are a kind of sketch pad for how one regains a life little by little from a culture that had wrapped its tentacles about you and squeezed out your breath. There is the slow process of putting oneself back together again, far from the screeching music of the television, the hard sell of the radio, the hysterical momentum of consumption as a stay against loneliness. All that abates as the exile sits in his [courtyard] with a good book, a quiet heart. The reader who pores over these memories and observations will feel the ache to slip away to one’s own courtyard in a foreign country, to sit and let the mind idle over its thoughts, to float back to the quiet and calm and, as Berman says, to count one’s blessings.”
Meanwhile, ten of the poems are available via audio link, from a reading I did in Berkeley in 2009: go to www.juliollosa.com, click on my name on the left hand side of the page, and then on "Audio Interviews"; and then scroll down and click on "Poetry Reading at Moe's Books."