Explaining From Memory

About a week ago, my second poetry collection, Reciting From Memory, was released. I wanted to spend a post telling people a bit about it, and this is that post.


While I always claim to be a nonfiction writer first, and a poet second, I still say that practicing poetry makes me a better writer. Most of my poems are like tiny little stories with a beginning, middle and end. I use analogy and metaphor just as I do in my nonfiction writing. Poetry is where I turn when I'm either pinched for time, or suffering from block. It challenges me every bit as much as nonfiction writing, just in smaller increments. My style is concrete, relate-able and down to earth. I call it poetry for the working man/woman.

Over time I accumulated these forty poems and rather than trying to submit them to various magazines and journals, I thought I'd put together a collection and see if there was a publisher that would take them for publication. I looked at publishers that were looking at both print and eBook submittals. While I would have loved to have this come out as a print book, I figured it would be really cool in either format. I felt strongly that these were some very good poems, some of my better work, so wanted to get them into a publisher's hands.

So, I submitted them to three or four publishers. I got one flat out rejection, another that said they like my work and were interested, but to try back in three months. Then I heard from Underground Voices. They too said they liked the work, but were eBook only and thought I wanted only print. I wrote back and told them eBook was perfect and that I'd love to work with them.

They wrote back and sent a contract, and the rest is history. They did swap out one rhyming poem that wasn't my best (Improperly Vetted) for another much better one that I sent in it's place (Night Shift).

After that it was just a matter of getting some beta reader reviews (on the Amazon site), rounding up the dedication and acknowledgements.

When the cover came out I was ecstatic with it. I said I'd wanted it to have something to do with travel and as you can see, it was just that. I loved it. After one font change, it was perfect.

And so, I now have my third book in three years, (albeit an eBook/chapbook). I can't say how happy I am with where my writing road has taken me. I am in the midst of promotion, which can be arduous at times, but I am getting pretty used to it and realize it's all part of it.

Here are a couple of poems from the book. I hope you like them and consider ordering the eBook from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble online. The book is a bargain at only $3.99 and if you want it autographed, there is an app called Authorgraph that this book can be found on that allows a sort of eSignature/personalizing.

I'd like to officially thank the staff at Underground Voices for giving me this great book to add to my portfolio. They were great to work with, start to finish!

And finally, if you like the book, I'd love to get a review from you on Amazon or Goodreads.

Here are a couple of samples:

Above Ground Rules         by Jim Landwehr

The secret to life is:
knowing when to shut up
and dance
playing your cards right
and knowing when to fold
lead with your left
cover with your right
and avoid the kidney punch
stay up late, but then,
wake up and show up
brush and floss
trim and pluck
pray with fervency
and recognize its answer
read good books
check your spelling
dot your i’s and cross your t’s
check your mirrors
change your oil
kiss your children
let the dog out
set the hook
get the net
and let the little ones go
get a checkup
but overeat occasionally
say I love you
but only if you mean it
start with bourbon
but end with beer
or even better, water
bet what you can lose
or even better, give it to the poor
sing Alleluia
unless its spelled Hallelujah
write in pencil
edit in pen
turn it up
but wear ear protection
match socks to pants
press your shirt
change your drawers
don’t cheat or lie
unless it’s about weight or age
call your mother
pay your mortgage
water the plants
get your flu shot
love your neighbor
shovel the walk
get good insurance
and live dangerously!
Reciting From Memory        by Jim Landwehr

There are a half dozen of them
cerebral videos – motion picture cameos
mental snapshots of my father
Murdered in ‘67 – with a capital M
when I was only five – with a small f.
I am in our enormous car in the front seat
he’s letting me steer in a Rice Street parking lot
or maybe he was letting my sister steer
or maybe we took turns; could be.
It was reckless, frightening joy – whoever.
He is standing at a construction site
a little boy’s hero in a red hard hat
I am here with my mother
to tell him something
or maybe to bring him his lunch.
We are at a bar – The Silver Coaches
a couple of renovated train cars
it is afternoon, he orders a beer
Coke for me – we nibble at Beer Nuts
just he and I – acting all grown up.
Home from a long business trip
or maybe home for Christmas – not sure
he has a gift for each of us kids
mine was a soldier with a parachute
my sister got a checkered bag, I think.
His friend is drunk at our house
and dad’s on the telephone
calling a taxi to take his friend away
it is chaotic and I don’t like it
as I play with my toy car nearby.
Sitting in his favorite chair
a few of us kids torment him
sneaking up behind and messing his hair
he feigns surprise at the attacks
then reaches behind to surprise us.
Most days I’m not sure if any are true
and still can’t separate truth from fiction
for now, they’re all I’ve got
so I continue to cling to them
these home movies in my head.

Link to purchase>: Reciting From Memory
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