“On the back of every tongue in my family
there is a dove that lives and dies.”
The Book of Lamenting
by Lory Bedikian
Levine Prize in Poetry 2010
My Grandfather as a boy walking through a wood with his father, walking out to see what they’ve killed. England between the wars. The wood is near Dorchester and Thomas Hardy has not long been dead. What time of year is this? I don’t know, but I keep seeing leaves. A carpet of dead leaves. Black leaves. Leather boots churning the leaves. My Great-Grandfather – Granfer – wearing his weskit over his collar-less white shirt. Their eyes scanning the ground looking for traps. Traps that they had planted. Iron teeth to catch a rabbit. But instead, something else, lying in the leaves....
The following is from my Notebook, dated August 2008. Gosh — I was sure funny back then.
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I finished this book, and I lay it down. The emotion I felt was gratitude.As with other writers in the past, I felt this validation and comfort in knowing that someone else sees what I see. In other words, I “get” Stephen Monroe in so many ways, except from the male point of view, which I was lucky to also get a glimpse of. It was enlightening to say the least.Each chapter was a joy to read, great storytelling, never dull or meandering, with a delightful cadence, words painting pictures in my mind of the most minute detail. The humour and playfulness woven into a tale of angst and redemption, the complete likability of your character who laughs at himself yet still retains his dignity. You are sir, a true artist.I don’t review many books, in fact I never have. I just wanted to say thank you, and let you know that I was left wanting more….to hear what else Stephen Monroe might say about life and himself through the unique lens of his unflinchingly honest, very funny observations.Loved it. 4 stars.Deborah
I finished the book around eleven last night. . . . Stephen Monroe is a man we should all aspire to be in my mind. Everything he went through, put himself through, was for love and understanding, of himself and the world around him. Mary is a gift from the heavens.The way you brought Uncle Leo into the book and laughter and this great sensitivity throughout the whole book was absolutely beautiful. Your views on the futility of wars and the draft were introduced so naturally.A masterstroke.I am all over the map with telling you about my experience withA Listening Thing. I am still so very excited about this novel, this autobiography of yourself and me and countless others.I am going to make a T-shirt saying,MY NAMEMY NAME ISSTEPHEN MONROE!I thank youfor your friendshipyour beautiful mindyour eyes that see beauty in the decay.
I just finished William Michaelian’s first novel, A Listening Thing. I picked it up and could not put it down (except to let the dogs out — they were grateful). Reading this book was a bit like my first experience with sushi... while taking the first couple of bites, I was not quite so sure of what I was getting into, but I kept eating because it was so beautiful... and strangely delicious. In the end, I was filled to the brim, but still comfortable in my jeans. Looking forward to the next plateful, William. This was a five tilde read ~~~~~
Your brand of humor flows effortlessly... even before reading your book, those who know you can feel that it comes from ‘beyond thought’. To me, that place beyond thought is where personal genius patiently, or sometimes impatiently, resides awaiting our notice. If we are fortunate enough to find it, and then to be able to tap that gift and present it in in a form that can be absorbed by others, this is art. Thanks for sharing yours...
Michaelian’s novel made me aware that choosing to be who you are can be revolutionary — and life altering, not only for you but for others.