National Poetry Month Reading by Gail Gerwin
Gerwin describes the work’s motivation in its introductory notes:
My late aunt Helen Stern Mann, who met challenges with courage, humor, and high dives, began all her letters to us with “Dear Kinfolk.” I honor her memory with this book’s title. The poetry in this collection represents more than my immediate kinfolk. All those I’ve met along my own journey are kinfolk in spirit. They have impacted my perception of who I was, who I am, and who I can be.
Dear Kinfolk, is a sequel to her first book, Sugar and Sand, which was also a memoir. Gerwin has already received accolades for Dear Kinfolk:
“Gail Fishman Gerwin's powerful new collection Dear Kinfolk, proves Gerwin has a range that is rare. Her psychological portraits explore youth; the Holocaust; the deep connection between dogs and owners; long-term marriage, children and grandchildren; and the discovery of self. Gerwin delves into each subject with intelligence, insight and an underlying emotion that is often spiced with ironic humor. Her trademarks are specificity, candor, and gorgeous imagery. Gail Fishman Gerwin is like a master diamond cutter. Her poems have clarity, depth, and shine brightly. Dear Kinfolk, is an exquisite book of poems, one I absolutely love.”
—Laura Boss, author of Flashlight (Guernica), founder and editor of Lips
“Gail Fishman Gerwin writes from her heart, a heart in which her kinfolk reside; and in this new and memorable collection, she invites readers into the circle of her immediate family. These are the poems of a mature woman who looks at youth and relationships from the perspective of hard-won wisdom and insight. Gerwin unflinchingly plumbs the depths of memory as she comes to terms with the past and rejoices in the present—each poem is filled with the tenderness, compassion, and love of a fully realized life.”
—Adele Kenny, author of What Matters (Welcome Rain), poetry editor of Tiferet
"Reading Gail Gerwin's Dear Kinfolk, is like reading a novella. Each poem is a story, a trip back in time, a glimpse of the kinfolks who populate her life. Their stories are made vivid by Gerwin's generous heart and sure gift of language."
—Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread (W. W. Norton & Company)
Gail Fishman Gerwin––proud to be a Paterson, New Jersey, native and a graduate of that city’s Eastside High School––attended Smith College, received her AB from Goucher College, and thirty-five years later received her MA, with a concentration in fiction and playwriting, from NYU’s Gallatin School. A former educator, in 1984 she founded inedit, a freelance writing/editing firm based in Morristown, N.J. Her first poetry collection Sugar and Sand was a finalist for the 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize. She also is the author of Bella’s Family, a two-act play about a Jewish immigrant family in the early 20th century, based on her mother’s family; Dropping Names, a one-act play about old loves reconnecting; and Women in Motion, a monologue collection. In addition to her poems, her poetry-book reviews, short fiction, essays, and journalistic features appear in print and online in literary journals, anthologies, newspapers, and magazines. Gail and her husband, Dr. Kenneth Gerwin, live in Morristown. They are parents of two daughters, Karen and Kate, and grandparents of Jordan, Ben, Brandon, and Liv. She has lived in Morristown since 1971 and spent many hours at the Morristown & Morris Township Library, starting with pajama story hours in the summertime.
This program is supported through funding from the Friends of the Morristown & Morris Township Library.