Poetry Book Launch
First Letter of My Alphabet
by Lance Strate
Join us on Wednesday, December 20th, as we celebrate the publication of First Letter of My Alphabet, the latest book by Institute of General Semantics President Lance Strate. The New York Society for General Semantics is pleased to host a reading and book signing with the author, also featuring a musical performance by composer Iris Karlin of several songs with lyrics based on Strate's poetry. The event is cosponsored by the Institute of General Semantics.
About the Book: This 3rd collection of poetry by Lance Strate is his most spiritual, and his most intimate. First Letter of My Alphabet is a personal pentateuch, populated by a diverse cast of characters that include Adam andffir Eve, Moses, Saul, Qohelet, Joan of Arc, Marie Curie, Brigitte Bardot, Max Weinberg, an assortment of superheroes, the Tailors of Eternity, angels and avatars, and the Supreme Being in myriad manifestations. Flashes of humor mix with bittersweet memory, poignant longings for escape are juxtaposed with calls for resistance and transcendence, sound and vision, speech and inscription, language and symbol, history and memory, past and present, the particular and the universal, the intellectual and the ineffable, all come together in a volume that speaks to flesh and blood and mind and soul as one.
Review: “Lance Strate has reached poetic Nirvana in his new collection First Letter of My Alphabet. Strate covers big philosophic territory with simplicity and exquisite language. This is truly a collection showcasing the sparkle of words spread wide and deep.”
⏤Doris White, Professor of Language, Literature, Culture, and Writing, William Paterson University
“This is an inspired, frightening hopeful book. Anchored in Hebraic tradition, some of Strate’s poems call to mind the apocalyptic Dylan of Hard Rain, the Coleman Barks version of Rumi, and The Book of Revelations. But there is levity too–wit, wisdom and the lightning connectivity of ‘wordplay’ to take us laterally into unexpected illuminations. “It is not thought that confirms existence/that's putting Descartes in front of the horse's mouth.” Remembrances of a 60s New York childhood are delightful and endearing while the more dire summoning of a parentage only made possible by survival of the Holocaust gives a profound grounding to Strate’s wonders and questions: “how strange it is to be born from flames that never burned me.” And so much more.”
⏤Robert Priest, poet, playwright, and songwriter, author of Reading the Bible Backwards and If I Didn’t Love the River
“This personal collection of mnemonics moves me beyond measure. It is a playful masterpiece of persistence and patience. Lance Strate is simply the best poet I know.”
⏤Michelle Shocked, singer-songwriter
Come join us for an affecting and euphonious evening!
6 PM to 9 PM Wednesday, December 20th at the historic Players Club in Gramercy Park.
Registration is free, but all attendees must be registered in order to gain admittance to the club. This includes any guests you might want to bring with you.
The program will take place in the Library on the 2nd floor of the club. Please note that, as an historic 19th century landmark, the site is not handicap accessible. Dress code is business casual and is strictly enforced, including no sneakers, shorts, ripped jeans, t-shirts).