The poems in The Story of Ash range over a variety of concerns from the tawdry to the sublime all the while exploring desire and love and loss. The poems are largely urban but the imagery is far-reaching as in this conflation of lyrical details about a house that has burnt down probably the result of arson: "...it was dazzling in its desolation in its heartbreak /like the fallen nest I'd found hiking in the woods with my once wife /frazzle of feathers among the twigs and the grasses."
Gerry LaFemina is the author of a novel a collection of short stories and numerous award-winning collections of poetry including The Parakeets of Brooklyn Notes for the Novice Ventriloquist (prose poems) Vanishing Horizon and Little Heretic.His collection of essays on poets and prosody Palpable Magic came out in 2015 from Stephen F. Austin University Press and his textbook Composing Poetry: A Guide to Writing Poems and Thinking Lyrically was published by Kendall Hunt.. Among his awards and honors are fellowships from the Irving Gilmore Foundation and the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs. He teaches at Frostburg State University and serves as a Poetry Mentor in the MFA Program at Carlow University. For more information visit www.gerrylafemina.com.
How rare it is for any poet to write with equal parts gravitas and scherzo and Gerry LaFemina's The Story of Ash is rich in both. The title poem tells us "It was the Chinese who first made ink from ash" and in the ink of these poems LaFemina gathers up the ashes of our crazy world: what's left after conflagration the cigarette burning in an ashtray the gray smudge on the faces of coal miners and "the thumbprint of the divine" on the first day of Lent. Richly descriptive both haunted and haunting The Story of Ash is a brilliant tragi-comedy in which memory is "the last shelter any of us have." -- Maggie Anderson
Gerry LaFemina's poetry is best described as Lou Reed meets Rumi." --D.E. Bentley Editor Canadice Press.