You can order the book from Finishing Line press.
Advance reviews :
The Glamorganshire Bible is written in lines of free but measured verse, plain as daylight, plain as truth. It invents Viti’s ancestors and their places and situations, what they did and didn’t do. The writing verifies what it invents. I can hear the sound a coffee cup makes as it descends upon its saucer. I know that Chevy was green and white. I know how that mother leaned to look into the mirror. That’s how she looked. It’s true.
–David Ferry, Sophie Chantal Hart Professor Emeritus of English at Wellesley College
In this compelling and cinematic suite of poems, Lynne Viti shows us women who attempt to untie the strictures and circumstances that would confine and define them. Here are finely wrought details in vivid interlocking narratives. Here is a genealogy of initial pregnant silences, insistent voices of the past, and astute perceptions of the present.
—Danielle Legros Georges, Poet Laureate, City of Boston
The wages of time–remembrance and oblivion, place names and lost motives–come to graceful life in these poems. The impulse is commemorative; the tone, at once lingering and alert, speaks for days that must add up to something–and sometimes do.
–Baron Wormser, Maine Poet Laureate emeritus, 2000 – 2006
Lynne Viti’s poems transport us to another place and time, into the beauty and desperation of a western Maryland railroad town a century ago. She mends the “broken kaleidoscope” of memory through the power of her own imagination, channeling the voice of “our grandma, young and wild” who became a wife and mother far too soon. The story grips us, and words rend our hearts as Viti chronicles three generations of women seeking love, escape, freedom, and connections with one another.
—Erin Royston Battat, Visiting Professor, The Writing Program,Wellesley College
The Glamorganshire Bible is a journey back to a childhood where coal mines, railroad depots, adultery, drinking binges, supper of “bread soaked in milk,” churches, two-dollar dresses and desertion are only some of the hard-core, radioactive elements in these remarkable, gritty poems. Viti’s skill at crafting poetry out of wreckage and pain without sentiment is superb.
–Lenny Della Rocca, Co-founder, South Florida Poetry Journal
Until my sister and I were out of high school and my parents invested in a silvery artificial Christmas tree, my mother put up what we called the “real” Christmas tree as close to Christmas Eve as possible. To hold us off, from early December till a few days before Christmas, she gave us little projects: an Advent calendar coated with silver glitter, with tiny windows, behind which lay old-fashioned toys—tops, trains, kewpie dolls, bears wearing red ribbon bows, jacks, toy workbenches, roller skates. Or a twelve-inch 1940’s –era plastic Christmas tree that came with tiny glass Christmas ornaments which we painstakingly hung on the tree.
Or the humblest pre-Christmas ritual of all—the brown paper tree, fashioned from several large Food Fair grocery bags that she cut apart and glued, drawing on it a seven-foot tall tree shape. With safety scissors, my sister and I carefully cut along the outline of the tree our mother had outlined in dark green crayon. On the scraps of brown paper, we drew and colored in ornaments: round globes in red and green using the fat primary grade crayons. When we were a little older, we graduated to the standard 24- crayon Crayola box, and feeling adventurous, we colored paper ornaments in other Crayola shades—burnt Sienna, Azure blue, red-orange, to design fancier balls. For gold, we deployed yellow. For silver, we used gray. After dinner on weeknights, or in the afternoon on Advent Saturdays, we lay on our stomachs in the small kitchen, bearing down hard on our thick Crayolas.
“Sit up when you use the scissors,” our mother said. “No cutting while you’re lying down.” As soon as she left the room, we were back on our bellies, carefully cutting out the paper ornaments. I was in charge of drawing the star, and we both filled it in with hard strokes, so no brown Food Fair bag paper would show through. We made a stack of the cut-out shapes. Mom taped the giant paper tree to the wall I the kitchen, and each day, she helped us glue a few or the paper ornaments onto the tree. By the time we got to the bottom of the ornament pile, there was a real Christmas tree in the corner of our small dining room, perfuming the small apartment with its fresh balsam scent.
The Christmas cards began to arrive in early December, from aunts and uncles, from Mom’s friends from her teaching days before I was born, from neighbors, from Mom and Dad’s friends from Sparrows Point. Mom opened and read each one aloud to us. We rubbed our fingers over the ones with flocked designs, or real cotton for Santa’s beard. On a metal apparatus in the shape of a pine tree, Mom displayed the cards, and when the clips of the metal tree were all used up, she taped holiday cards to the woodwork arch leading from the dining room into the kitchen. Out came the Christmas stockings, which hung on a red ribbon attached to the wall with thumbtacks, because we had no fireplace. Mom said not to worry, Santa would enter and exit from the stairs that led from our grandma’s home downstairs up to our place. The real tree stayed bare in its stand, a red vessel that held the trunk tight by long screws boring into the wood. The lights and the real glass ornaments never appeared, back then, until after my sister and I were fast asleep.
A few days after Christmas, my mother began to notice the dropped needles that appeared everywhere in the apartment. She let us keep our favorite gifts, the dolls and toys, under the tree until New Year’s Day. But the pajamas, the scarf and glove sets from our aunts, the bath towels with the circus motif, personalized with our names, and the games had to be stowed in our bureaus or the big closet. Soon, the real tree would be gone, lying on the curb for the garbage men to claim. The paper tree my sister and I worked so hard on was rolled up and discarded. All the sugar cookies and the chocolate chips had been eaten up, and what remained were a few hard, spicy gingersnaps that only my parents liked. I wondered aloud her what she would do with the Christmas cards, and she said I could collect them, use them for whatever projects I could think up. She handed me a small box, I watched her pull the cards from the woodwork, one by one. This time, she didn’t even look inside at the signatures.
She removed the fragile ornaments from the tree and lined them up on the dining room table. As she inspected each ornament, and placed it into its niche in the storage box, the television droned on in the adjacent living room. “Nineteen fifty-two is just around the corner,” the tv announcer said, as he began touting a new car. I contemplated his words. What does that mean, I asked my mother? “It means the new year’s almost here, “ she said.
Memories of that time, perhaps even of that particular day, are vivid. My father was at work; sister was napping. I was too old for that, so I sat with her as she packed up Christmas. Her whole life, she fought hard to keep the blues at bay at Christmastime, for the holiday brought on sad memories of her straitened childhood. I didn’t understand why she was in such a hurry to get back to normal, as she put it. She was always glad to see New Year’s day come and go, and to put Christmas on the shelf, or up in the attic, for another year.
Two days after Christmas, I feel my mother’s spirit in the room, rising up. Time to close up Christmas for this year—is it too soon to start?
I’m very happy to announce that my second poetry chapbook, The Glamorganshire Bible, has been accepted for publication by Finishing Line Press. Stay tuned for details.
Thanks to my readers–those who know me and those who know me through my writing–for your support!
My friend –and guest lecturer visiting from U of Miami– Gina Maranto snapped these photos, as I was opening the shipment of my 100 copies of Baltimore girls, last Thursday when we returned from a long teaching day.
If you did not pre-order, I have 100 copies I’d like to part with, so if you’re in the greater Boston area, let me know. I deliver signed copies!! If you’re farther away, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Finishing Line Press carry the book. Or wait till I come to Baltimore or Stamford, CT, and come to my readings–I will be selling and signing books!
Next reading: Sunday, April 2, 2017, Westwood Public Library, 660 High St, Westwood, MA 02090, 2-4 PM
Please post your questions and comments there about poetry, Walt Whitman, Dylan Thomas, Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Stevenson. Shel Silverstein, Allen Ginsberg, Adrienne Rich, Leonard Cohen, Alice Notley, Joyce Kilmer, John Greenleaf Whittier, and more!
My pal Hallie Ephron, one of the Jungle Red mystery authors, has invited me to guest blog on Jungle Red next Friday, February 25. their tagline: “8 smart and sassy crime fiction writers dish on writing and life. It’s the View–with bodies.”
The Jungle Red website features eight women mystery authors, many of them winners of prestigious awards: the Edgars, Agathas, Anthonys, Neros, and more.
Of course, I won’t be talking/writing about Private investigators, or who was responsible for that corpse in a mystery novel, but about my poetry–how I came to it, my writing process, where I come up with ideas for the poems.
My poetry collection, Baltimore Girls, is in the works at Finishing Line Press, although the February 24 delivery date has been pushed a few weeks later. Pre-orderers, please be patient–this small literary press in Kentucky is working as fast as it can to get the book to you.
Take a look at the Jungle Red blog now, and again on February 25 when I blog. Its interactive feature allows readers to comment or ask questions of the guest blogger, and I will be checking in all day (and early evening) long to see what you have to say.
Hallie will start us off with her interview with me, and you, readers, can take it from there!
Hope to see you–virtually–on February 25, from 9 AM EST to 9 PM EST! Please come!
My poem, “The Color of Her Volkswagen,” about an afternoon at Oregon Ridge Swimming “Club,” circa 1960 , appears in the winter issue (page 17) of Pen-in-Hand, the official literary and art publication of the Maryland Writers’ Association. Mad props to Sr. Carol Wheeler, and Sr. August Reilly, RSMs who taught me in Creative English class at Mercy High, Baltimore, and my 21st century poetry mentor, Boston Poet Laureate Emeritus Sam Cornish…