Thursday, April 1, 2021

New Book! The Family of Man Poems by Simon Perchik

"The largest original book of poetry in the English language" 

The Family Of Man Poems, a long-awaited book by Simon Perchik is finally published in full during National Poetry Month 2021. This is an eight year journey of writing that took 30 years to get published because of the sheer size. At 600 pages, we are billing this as "the largest original book of poetry in the English language." Most books of poetry come in at 80-120 pages. There have been long poems published in English, notably Patterson by William Carlos Williams, which is a 325 page masterpiece. This is the first that runs 600 pages, and is the 30th collection of poems by Simon Perchik published since 1964.  

In an interview with Susan Tepper at the turn of the century, Si shared these thoughts about The Family Of Man Poems: "Susan, when I was writing The Family of Man, using the 482 photographs from that book, I was writing seven days a week, 365 days a year. It took eight years to finish. Working this way that I do -- it's brutal, brutal…Why bother to write if you're not writing about life? To purge, or find out about yourself. Whether it's poetry or prose, anything -- even painting. To find out about yourself. You may not be happy with that information, but there it is. When I'm finished writing I feel that something is there that wasn't there before and I feel better. A kind of exorcism. And it may be the same poem over and over, a different way." 

(note: several interviews by Susan Tepper, and other interviews with Perchik are available as an addendum to his book "The Weston Poems".) 

Prior to today's publication of this book, the only method a reader had of reading all these poems was to collect the over 250 literary magazines the poems originally appeared in, from Abalone Moon to Zillah. Some of the magazines you may be familiar with are San Pedro River Review, Poet Lore, Poetry now, Cervena Barva, Main Street Mag, Puerto Del Sol, Xanadu - and I'm going to stop before I list all 250 plus magazines. Suffice it to say, over 250 editors approved of all the poems that appear in The Family of Man. His work continues to be widely published in many periodicals including Cholla Needles, Poetry (Chicago), The New Yorker, The Nation, International Poetry Review, Partisan Review, Massachusetts Review and the Southern Poetry Review.

“Perchik is the most widely published unknown poet in America… Often dense, often difficult, Perchik’s poems nevertheless lead to strange, unanticipated conclusions that usually reward the pursuit.” —Library Journal  November 15, 2000


Nothing enters painlessly, the Earth
chucks up our hubcaps, puddles, rust
as mothers long ago learned

—we are taught to kiss
with our mouth closed, to hear
their dark, bent
and the creak we cannot see
unrolls the Earth
the crushed lullabies, mufflers
and evenings

—I'm hauling this sun
back into the ground
into an ocean never heard before
—carting a light that wouldn't wait
whose first breath came from this dark
and the last, half asleep, again
carried down in my arms.

- Simon Perchik

Other books from Cholla Needles by Simon Perchik:

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