For the past three years I’ve been working with poet John Kay on a huge collection of his poems to be published by the small press that I have operated on and off over the years, Rumba Train Press. Here’s the official description of the book:
Rumba Train Press is proud to announce the publication of a new collection of poems by John Kay, The Heidelberg Poems. As editor, illustrator, and publisher I’ve had the pleasure of working with John on this book since 2017. This is a major collection consisting of 167 of John’s masterful six-couplet poems, gathering together two previously published collections and adding a third, previously unpublished group of poems, all dealing with his years in Heidelberg. The Heidelberg Poems were written while John and his wife Susan lived in Heidelberg over a ten year period. In his introduction, John Kay writes “The poems are dark, often surreal, sometimes absurd, downright painful, and frequently humorous. The voice and imaginative vision in these poems are distinctly European, where we were outsiders, strangers and often invisible — but always being watched. When that changed and we were ‘home,’ the voices that fed me the poems disappeared. For me, after writing poetry for 60 years and teaching writing classes for 20 years, this book is the capstone, the best I can do.” Ralph Dutli, Germany’s preeminent translator of Russian poetry, translated a selection of the poems and arranged for their publication in the weekly arts section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), which is Germany’s equivalent to the New York Times.
The book contains three sections of poems in English. The first section, “This Particular Kiss,” won the Pearl Poetry Prize and was published as a book by Pearl Press in 2016. The second section, “Phantom of the Apple,” was first published in book form by Beginners Mind Press in 2010. “Saltines,” the third section, has not previously been published in book form. The fourth section is comprised of 10 poems that were translated into German by Ralph Dutli. The book is illustrated with 36 black and white line drawings by David Barker.
The Heidelberg Poems is available as a trade paperback from Amazon Books.