Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why I Wrote the Book Suede

After fifteen long years, I have finally compiled my poetry together in a collection titled, Suede, which is a tribute to growing up in a cobbler's shop. My father stored leather hides wherever he found room, tacked to the wall and on the workbenches in back. The leather scraps found themselves piled in boxes, just like this photo, which is the cover of my book.
I like to call myself a blue collar poet, mostly because I write my poems for that audience. People who are like my father. He was one of the smartest people I ever knew, and he had little more than a high school education. My father always taught me that I was "no better than anyone else," a concept that both defines me and has caused me problems. It's because although my father taught me this, he got annoyed when I fell in love with men for who they were, not what they could give me.
This book pays homage to my older brother Tony, who died when I was 18, and to my father, who became my best friend in Tony's absence. My father and I grieved together--which means we fought, we made up, we argued, we laughed, and we loved each other with the deep ferocity that runs through our Italian roots. My father once told me, "You couldn't be more like me if you tried." In his keen self awareness, he saw that as both a strength and a weakness.
My father's death pushed me to get this book finished. I regret he's not alive to read it. I am sure that where ever he rests, he is beaming with pride.
Thank you for reading.