How did you come to write “Unexpected Light?”
I've been publishing poetry for 40 years, and this is my second book. My first was published in 1997. This is my second book, 12 years in the making. It deals with many themes, including the usual four in poetry: God, Death, Nature and Love. The last section of the book, in fact, is devoted to love poems. And that was a main impetus for the book. I had compiled a manuscript entirely of love poems but no publisher showed interest, so I limited the love poems to my very best 20 or so and added poems on other themes, and voila! I had a publisher go all the way for me, including royalties—for poetry, imagine!
Why did you call your book “Unexpected Light?”
First, it is mentioned in the last line of the poem, “Prayer to la Virgen,” detailing how Christ was lucky enough to receive a donated grave.. But more so, when I fell in love at 45 for the first time (and it has continued ever since), I was shocked out of my mind. It was truly unexpected light.
Trained as a medical doctor, I had always been rational about love, thinking (in C. S. Lewis's words) that love should be the result of, not the reason for marriage. All that changed when I met Kathleen. And right after I met her my second wife e-mailed me that she was leaving—such synchronicity!--leaving me a perfect opportunity to experience romantic love for the first time, a gift I wish for everyone. And true love is not just infatuation but an abiding love, a love that puts on overalls and boots in the service of the beloved.
Where can we get a copy of “Unexpected Light?”
It's available through Amazon.com and all the usual suspects and any bookstore will order it for you. Best to order it directly from the publisher. There's a page on my website where you can do that: http://cechaffin.com/light.html
It comes in hardback for just $20 and paperback for $12. I wish I could give it away but I can't afford it. Seven reviews have already been published, and I can say without embarrassment that they have all been glowing.
Here's a short excerpt from one of the love poems, “Valentine 2008,” where the speaker imagines his love as a waterfall:
Inside the moss-lipped haven of your granite
I hide behind your thundering skirt of water.
Your clarity dissolves all self-deception.
I would not recognize myself without you.
The shelter of trees is never so generous
As your pouring and thinning of yourself
Into the forest air. I kneel and drink
And like the alder rise up satisfied.