authors, books, poems, poetry

Spotlight & Review: The Long Body That Connects Us All by Rich Marcello

Synopsis

Provocative and profound, Rich Marcello’s poems are compact but expansive, filled with music as seductive as their ideas, and focused mostly on how to be a good man. This is a collection of deep passion and wisdom for fathers, husbands, and sons, but also for mothers, wives, and daughters, many who began with a longing for the things they were taught to desire by their forefathers, only to later discover a different path, one lit by loss and welcoming of the vulnerable, one made of the long body that connects us all.

Buy Links

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-long-body-that-connects-us-all-rich-marcello/1127357860?ean=9781545611944

Porchwork
You come home from work
with metal pieces in need of straightening,
the result of an earlier errant production run.
For ten dollars, I spend my Saturday
on the front porch running thousands
of bent rods, of scrapworks,
through a straightening machine

On occasion, I gaze outward
into the woods, aware
that my increasing sense
of accomplishment
mirrors the rise of the sun.
Finally, when it’s dusk,
you come to the porch
to see me, your nine-year-old son,
to offer payment, but it’s the warmth
on your face that stirs me the most
I know you’re proud of me
for sticking with the cogs
and crooked metal.
I know you love me.
I know I’ve somehow taken
a step toward you

Today, building a Lego set on the floor
with my son, I realize I’ve been trying
to duplicate that moment on the porch
over thirty years now, my entire work life

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MY REVIEW

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Long Body That Connects Us All is a wonderful collection of poetry. Each poem is exceptionally well crafted, original, and personal- everything a great collection should entail. So, why only 4 stars? 

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, poetry is personal. It’s meant to be. That being said, not all poetry will touch everyone the same. The majority of the poems in this collection didn’t speak to me the way I’m sure it will speak to others, but I appreciate a well-written poem. I appreciate a poet who knows what they’re doing and isn’t afraid to put themselves and their experiences on the line. 

The poetry within this collection is full of vivid imagery. The Walking, In the rough patch, Stillness, and Blue Gears were some of the poems that stood out to me, but my favorite, without question, was Daughters and Sons.

I struggled with the rating. If my rating was based solely on the quality of the work, it would be an easy 5 stars. The placement of the poetry, the three different parts and the flow within each was incredible. However, a review isn’t just about the skill an author has; it’s also a reader’s opinion.

I would recommend this collection to poetry fans, for sure. Even if they don’t feel a connection to the poems, they will be better for having read The Long Body That Connects Us All.

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An Interview With the Poet

Rich Marcello is an author who creates both fiction and poetry. He’s been with us before to discuss his works of fiction ( https://sandraely770.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/445/ ). Now, he’s back discussing poetry.

You’ve been with us before to discuss your works of fiction. How would you say writing fiction differs from writing poetry?

I think they complement each other.  With a novel, I start with the story and go down to the chapters, the scenes, and the individual sentences.  When I reach the sentence level, I often think about certain sentences in a poetic sense, trying to make them as vivid and lyrical as possible. In a similar way, when I write a poem, I often start with a fragment or a phrase or even a single word, but when I’m done I make sure I’ve told a story.

Is the publishing process different? How so?

It was very much the same since the publisher of my novels, Langdon Street Press, also published this collection.  Clearly, the editors assigned were different, but otherwise it was a similar process.

Do you have a different writing process for poetry than you do for fiction?

Yes.  I tend to write poems when they come to me, and then hone them over time.  I also tend to work on them for shorter periods of time, maybe an hour at time, until they’re complete. Typically, I get an idea for a poem or a single image, and then I develop it from there.  If I started with the idea, I spend my time making the poem more physical and concrete.  If I start with an image, I spend my time working on the poem’s thematic payoff.

It takes quite a few poems to make a complete collection. How do you decide which poems to include, which to scrap?

I wrote over two hundred poems over two years for this collection and then honed it down to the 60 poems I liked best. I didn’t really use a process to decide on what poems to use. It was mostly what felt right given the theme of the book.

What is your favorite poem from this collection?

I love many of the poems, but if I had to name three,  I would say, “Passing,” “The Blue Line,” and “Belong to No One

What’s your favorite thing about poetry in general?

The ability the express a great deal of emotion on a single page.

What would you say to a fiction reader in order to get them to try to read poetry- more specifically your poetry?

My novels deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, aging, self-discovery. My goal is to fill my novels with rich characters and ideas, to continually improve my craft as a storyteller, and to tell my stories with the eye and the ear of a poet. For me, writing and art-making are about connection and making a difference to a least one other person in the world. So, if a reader liked the style and theme of one of my novels, I think she would find the same elements in my poetry, only more emotional and focused.

How long have you been writing poetry?

I’ve been writing poetry all my life. I also have written over sixty songs and my publisher, Langdon Street Press, has published three of my novels: The Color of HomeThe Big Wide Calm, and The Beauty of the Fall. I am currently working on my fourth novel, The Latecomers.

What would you like readers to take away from this collection?

I wanted to publish a collection about what it means to be a good man in the modern world. There are many great poets out there, but few these days are writing on this topic. With all the divisiveness in the world these days, much propagated by violent men, I wanted to show some of my own experiences about being open and vulnerable with the hope that some of my specific experiences would generalize.

If you could go back in time, what one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Take bigger artistic risks in your twenties and really go for it.

If you’d like to find out more about Rich Marcello visit his website: http://www.richmarcello.com

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