Cervena Barva Press Announces a New Book
by Morris Berman
Morris Berman is an essayist, novelist, social critic, and cultural historian. He has written ten books and more than one hundred articles, and has taught at a number of universities in Europe, North America, and Mexico. He won the Governors Writers Award for Washington State in 1990, and was the first recipient of the annual Rollo May Center Grant for Humanistic Studies in 1992. In 2000, The Twilight of American Culture was named a "Notable Book" by the New York Times Book Review . During 2003-6 he was Visiting Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and Visiting Professor in Humanities at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico City, during 2008-9. Counting Blessings is his first volume of poetry.
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 authors 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 ones 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.
ISBN: 978-0-578-08091-8 / 44 Pages /Poetry
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