by Jhon Sanchez
Last May 2, we brought you the first part of the collections of poems written to honor the life and legacy of our dear professor and great poet Lewis Warsh, who passed on November 15, 2020. Today, May 30, we bring you the second part of the homage.
The idea started in early February when I contacted my friends and former classmates Yani Perez and Tony Iantosca to help out with the organization of the event. We had a meeting and agreed on the date for the public reading and the initial dates for publication. But poets have a different conception of time.
I set a deadline and sent out an email, and wait for the contributions. I didn’t get a reply. Crossing my fingers, I checked my email every day for anyone showing support. I thought that nobody got my email when I got the contributions of Amyre Loomis, Desirée Rucker, and Tamara Lebron. Now I had a bigger problem: I didn’t have enough pieces to create a homage. With Tony and Yani along with mine, I could complete six. I set a second date, and I hoped for the best. Then, many of my friends sent emails promising to send their poems. It seemed that the Muses take their train in their own time zone. We got poems until the very last day prior to the reading. Some authors were missing headshots, others their bios, and others made last-minute changes in their pieces. The funny thing was that the last two pieces we got were Lamp’s Angle and Maestro by Tony Iantosca and Yani Perez—the very first people I contacted.
This homage represented a challenge for Pressenza. It was our first time we published a collection of literary pieces connected by the same theme. On the other hand, the beautiful poems of John High, John Peacock, Malik Crumpler gave Pressenza the opportunity to learn how to deal with pieces written in specific formats.
I had the honor to read first each of the poems in this collection. Each of the pieces reminds me of Lewis. Guppy Doors by Jamey Jones was written after a dream. Lewis taught me to write my dreams, saying, “Dreams need attention.” Or, as Malik Crumpler said during the reading, “My poems responded to one of those crazy assignments that Lewis gave us.”
On Thursday, May 27, I was calm about the homage. We had all the pieces, the bios, the pictures, and the corrections. But I got a message from Karina Lagdameo-Santillan, our editor, saying that she couldn’t convert Christine Gans’s poem into a Word document. I couldn’t contact Christine, so I decide to transcribe the poem myself. The task was by itself another of Lewis’s teachings: “Transcribe a poem from time to time.”
Maestro, thanks for the assignment.
About the author:
Jhon Sánchez. A Colombian-born, Mr. Sánchez, arrived in NYC seeking political asylum where he is now a lawyer. His most recent publications are “United Tombs of America” (Midway Journal) y The DeDramafi (Storylandia, issue 36 available on Amazon). Last year, Teleport published his short story ‘Handy.’. He was awarded the Horned Dorset Colony for 2018 and the Byrdcliffe Artist Residence Program for 2019. In 2021, New Lit Salon Press will publish his collection Enjoy Pleasurable Death and Other Stories that Will Kill You. For updates, please visit the Facebook page @WriterJhon