The 76 vivid poems in
A NEW LIFE
by Ralph Dranow
offer us a unique and compassionate view of what it is to be human.
“The word glimpses in this book, like snapshots of everyday experiences, are like sweet-sour candy melting on the tongue.” —Shonen Bressler
In this collection of poems by Ralph Dranow, the old life becomes the new life through the poet's discovery of the mystery and wonder that lie just beneath the surface of our everyday lives.
People on the fringe of society reveal their humanity and touch the poet's heart, as do ordinary people doing seemingly ordinary things, whose goodness could easily be overlooked except for the poet's discerning glance.
A father spending hours looking for his young daughter's toy in “Professor of Patience” achieves a modest nobility, as does the family sloppily but joyfully playing Frisbee in the park in “Happiness.”
They're playing Frisbee in the park,
Husband and wife,
Three skinny young girls.
The woman is pillowy,
Plump like a dumpling.
"Mama!" one of the girls,
About six, calls,
Tossing the Frisbee to her.
Mama lunges at it,
A lead-footed dancer.
Gleeful laughter bubbles
From the older girls
And Mama joins in.
A compact man,
Tosses the Frisbee
With elegant nonchalance.
The others, though,
Never catch or throw it right
But it doesn't matter.
Each errant toss,
Is a new adventure,
Cause for fresh merriment.
The smallest girl,
Struggles with the Frisbee.
Her father stands behind her,
Tenderly guides her arm
And the Frisbee
Until she can throw it
A few feet
To giggles and applause.
Afterwards, the family
Lies down together,
A tight circle,
Draped against one another,
The father leans lazily
Against his younger daughter.
Watching all this,
A window into
Something simpler, gentler,
I feel a flutter
Caressing my chest.
To watch an interview with Ralph Dranow on his experience of writing poetry, click here.
A New Life: Poems
by Ralph Dranow
“Although I've a very prosaic nature, not given to poetic rapture, I've been touched and inspired by Rumi and by Ralph. Both paint for me such clear and intense images that open my heart and bring a magic to the scenes of life they portray.
“Ralph's poetry is tender and honest and bittersweet. He shares the raw truth of human experience with us from childhood to seniority, and the word glimpses, like snapshots, of everyday experiences, are like sweet-sour candy melting on the tongue.
"For me, Ralph's poems open the heart to embrace our shared mundane world with surprise and delight. Even when he is describing a painful moment or memory, his view is compassionate. He is a keen observer of human activity, feelings, and relationship, and his poems nestle into the heart in a genuinely comforting way."— Shonen Bressler
"I've been slowly savoring and loving your book. What a great gift to the world! I admire your courage to keep opening and exploring the depths of your own soul, and to share the vulnerabilities and strengths, uncertainties and wisdom you find."— Charles Burack, author, Songs to My Beloved and Leaves of Light
“I bless the day I met Ralph. Working with him on my poetry has taken me to a deeper understanding of expression.
“His insight reinforces my confidence.”— Flo Oy Wong, artist and poet
RALPH DRANOW BEHIND THE SCENES
"I love stories," Ralph Dranow says freely. "They give our lives feeling, shape, and texture. People have been telling each other stories for thousands of years. Stories can celebrate the human spirit, giving us hope, especially in difficult times. They can express awe and wonder at being alive in a vast, mysterious universe.
"Stories can also allow us to express the pain in our lives, enabling us to feel heard with compassion by ourselves and others. And they can help us puzzle out the meaning of our lives. Almost all of my widely published writing, poetry and prose, has consisted of stories, other people’s and my own."
Ralph Dranow reading to a rapt audience
from A New Life
In an interview with Barry Barkan, co-founder of The Elders Guild in Berkeley, California, Ralph revealed:that:
"Writing poems saved my life."
For most of his life, Ralph was a writer who aspired to be a poet but who continually fell short of his aspirations.
"I always wanted to write poetry. I would try. But it just wouldn't happen," he says.
Then, at age 50, at a time when he was feeling depressed and in a lot of pain and he was barely hanging on after a painful divorce, it happened.
"The pain and suffering opened me up emotionally and the poetry started happening to me. It was like a blessing from God. It made life worth living again."
He says that at first his poems weren't very good: "I just started by getting down feeling. I didn't have the craft or the skills yet. Gradually, as I started getting more and more poems published, the development of the skills and the craft turned out to be my personal mastery path. At first I just wrote poems and then I realized that a craft requires revision and patience."
Dranow didn't realize it at the moment, but it was the beginning of a journey towards the realization of a freer and more open life that has reaped many more benefits:. . . . Ralph’s story is revealed (both directly and obliquely) in A New Life, a book of poems published by Rose Press.
Listen to Ralph Dranow read 3 of the poems from A New Life in the video below:
"A New Life" / "Over-Readers Anonymous" / "Feeding the Homeless."
The Invisible Orchestra
by Ralph Dranow
The invisible orchestra
Plays in hushed tones
For an infinite audience.
It's easy to dismiss
As background noise
Or ignore altogether,
Until you realize
That its muffled music
Into this world,
And one day
Will usher us out.
A New Life: Poems
by Ralph Dranow
is an award-winning, widely published poet with a lifelong fascination about people's life stories. He is also a writer, ghostwriter, writing mentor, and editor residing in Oakland, California, USA.
His mission is to express the poetry and beauty of everyday life through writing, and help others who want to write poetry do so, as well.
His website is: https://www.ralphdranow.net
A New Life is part of the Rose Press "The Beauty of the Inner Life" series.
The books in this series show how the beauty, wonder, and poignancy of life is right here, right now –
if only we are present to see it.
The books put out by Rose Press are meant to last and last and last.
Unlike many books that are published to make a temporary splash and then fade out into dim memory or total forgetfulness, Rose Press books are meant to live in your heart and in your life.
So not only do they remain on your bookshelf (or your hard drive, portable reading device, etc): they also remain inside you, part of the impressions that make up your inner being. And sometimes ~ much like a sudden affectionate thought about an old friend with whom you’ve been out of contact ~ the desire will come to pick up and read these books again and make their acquaintance (and your own) again from the place where you are now.
Some of these books are already perennials: issued and reissued to encounter new readers and re-visit old ones. Others are brand new and just putting down roots, to return to readers’ attentions in their own passing seasons.
Books that go deep take time to write, so quality may win out over quantity, here. We hope you will content yourself with the current varieties in this “garden,” and look forward to new blooms to come.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________Deep reads for deepening readers.
Rose Press books. A publishing house for your inner garden.