My first book, Testimony: Found Poems from the Special Court for Sierra Leone, is due out from Bucknell University Press in June 2021. The distributor is Rutgers University Press.
Paperback: 9781684483105 $19.95 full price or $13.96 pre-order
Cloth (hardbound): 9781684483112 $49.95 full price or $35.96 pre-order
Also available as an Ebook.
To order, call Rutgers Univ Press at 1-800-621-2736 from within the US
To obtain the 30% discount and free shipping, give Code RFLR19.
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The book is based on my MFA thesis, which I completed at The New School with the steadfast guidance and generous support of Laurie Sheck. Between 2011 and 2017, pieces from this collection were published The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, Reed Magazine (150th Anniversary Issue), and in three separate issues of J Journal: New Writing on Justice.
In 2014, one of the pieces won 3rd prize in the Gertrude Stein Contest, sponsored by The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. In 2017, four of the pieces were combined into a single work, entitled ‘Three Witnesses from the Special Court for Sierra Leone and One Silence’, which won 1st prize in Reed Magazine’s 2017 Gabriele Rico Challenge in Creative Nonfiction. This piece also received a favorable review by journalist Brandon Yu in the San Francisco Chronicle (Sept. 21, 2017).
Also, this collection was selected as a semi-finalist for The Washington Prize, and won Honorable Mention in the Concrete Wolf Press Poetry Series (2017). Professor/writer/poet Laurie Sheck has used portions of this collection in her writing class at Princeton University. At the invitation of Brenda Hillman, I presented one piece from this collection as part of a panel on anti-war poems, which Brenda chaired at the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) in Denver, Colorado, in March 2010. In addition to Brenda, my co-panelists were Fred Marchant and Nick Flynn.
Before committing to my own writing, I devoted many years to supporting other people with their writing and to promoting the work of established poets/authors. I did this mainly through my active involvement in the poetry therapy profession. Poetry therapy, which became a formal discipline in 1963 but which uses principles and practices that date back thousands of years, is a method of fostering insight, empowerment, and healing by using preexisting poems as a springboard for writing and sharing original poems. I completed a 2-year training program in biblio/poetry therapy at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington DC in the 1990s, and became a certified poetry therapist in 1997, and a registered poetry therapist and mentor/supervisor (the highest level of credentialing available) in 2002. I served on the Board of Directors of the National Association for Poetry Therapy, and worked with clients from a wide range of backgrounds. However, I kept my own literary writing hidden away in folders, without investing the time and energy needed to polish it and submit it for publication.
In 2007, through a process of soul-searching, I became aware that I wanted to reclaim this buried part of myself and move forward with my writing. I was accepted into the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program in creative writing at The New School. I completed my MFA in 2009. My thesis advisor was Laurie Sheck. Through my inner work to address the psychological barriers that were preventing me from submitting literary work for publication, after more than two decades of academic writing in psychology and related disciplines (mainly for peer-reviewed journals and edited books), I gradually began to focus on literary work and submit it for publication.
I began with a chapter, titled ‘This Place in the Ways’ (after a poem by Muriel Rukeyser), in an edited book of first-person narratives. This personal essay was published in Peacemaker 101: Careers Confronting Conflict (edited by R. Eidelson, J. Laske, & L. Cherfas) in 2007.
In 2010, my autobiographical narrative ‘Journey to the Start of Day: Ancestry, Ethnicity, and My Work as a Clinical Psychologist’ was published in Women and Therapy (Vol. 34). (This was republished as a chapter in a book of personal essays, edited by Beverly Greene and Dorothy Brodbar, in 2011.)
Keynote Commencement Address, May 13, 2007, Worcester State College, Worcester, Massachusetts
I wrote and delivered this address in conjunction with my receiving an Honorary Doctoral Degree (Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa).
“And the Blood of the Children Was Like Children’s Blood”: Telling the Truth About Torture and War
I wrote and delivered this address at the 114th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, August, 2006, New Orleans, Louisiana, in connection with the APA’s selection of the Center for Victims of Torture-Guinea’s International Mental Health Team of 2004-05 for the International Humanitarian Award (co-authors: Jon Hubbard, Maki Katoh, Erika Falk, Jean-Baptiste Mikulu, Potiphar Nkhoma, Yuvenalis Omagwa).