My new book, Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light, went way beyond the work of one person, as most books do. But when considering how best to acknowledge folks, I stumbled upon this article which persuaded me to display my thank-yous here, rather than between the covers of the book. So this is it, the official acknowledgements page, and believe me, there are a great many people I am eager to thank. The generosity I’ve received throughout the Wildcat process has had me feeling like George Bailey at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. That’s the truth.
First and foremost, I would like to offer immense, heartfelt thanks to my publisher, Michael P. Daley, for giving me the greatest honor of my writing life by agreeing to publish Wildcat. Michael’s patience, expertise, and encouragement on this book alone should land him in the publisher’s hall of fame. And his belief in my work became all the more meaningful when I learned what a massively talented writer and cultural historian he is. Michael’s talent is present on the pages of my book, too, as I was keen to absorb virtually all of his perceptive suggestions, which came at the level of line, form, and title. I couldn’t be more proud to be published by his First to Knock -- and thanks to Michael for his big part in orchestrating the international book tour upon which I am about to embark!
And major thanks goes to Mike Sack, who notified me of the existence of First to Knock, and even, unprompted, sent Mr. Daley one of my recently published poems with a note saying there’s a writer he may want on his radar. This is a kindness I will never forget. Mike’s encouragement has been vital in the creation of this book, and I am immensely grateful for the five years of correspondence and friendship we’ve had -- and am hopeful for many more.
Also, with this book and in life, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the writer and poet John Yohe, who has been my friend, mentor, and trusted editor for over a decade. John offered immensely valuable feedback after reading early drafts of Wildcat Dreams - he was the first - and I have only been able to achieve what I think is the best work of my life with his encouragement and expertise. In my mind, John is up there with Jack Kerouac, Edward Abbey, and other great writers whose words have become a part of the vast American landscapes.
My sincere thanks goes out to my long-time friend and literary confidant Ronnie Ferguson as well. I am very grateful Ronnie was one of the first to read Wildcat because his feedback led to vital improvements. And Ronnie’s encouragement on this project, and through the past 11 years, has been hugely motivating and inspiring to me; I’m honored to count such a talented writer and musician as a great friend of mine.
I would also like to express heartfelt thanks to:
-A hero of mine for two decades+, a member of the band Pavement, and past member of the late, great, legendary Silver Jews, a co-host of my favorite music podcast, Three Songs Pod, and an all-around wonderful and generous fella: Bob Nastanovich. Bob taking the time to offer kind words in support of my two books is an all-time literary honor I will never forget as long as I ramble. And I couldn’t be more psyched to see Bob perform with Pavement in Brussels in November!!
-Agnieszka Legutko, a professor at Columbia University, one of the foremost Yiddish scholars in the world, for generously proofreading the Yiddish ordinal numbers which comprise the chapter headings of Wildcat Dreams. It was important for me to show respect to the Yiddish language of my Hebrew forbearers, and Professor Legutko did me a great kindness in proofreading those, making sure I had them all written correctly.
-The artist Edward Lasala, for his enchanting painting that graces the cover of Wildcat. I can tell this painting was done by someone with major talent who graciously spent time with the book, and it’s the perfect image with which to welcome readers into the magical, daring world of Wildcat.
-Nick Ferreira, who designed the book, made it look excellent, and patiently endured the implementation of my many edits. You hit it out of the park, my good sir.
-The musician Fever Queen, who offered use of the dreamy, ethereal steel guitar music featured in the book & tour trailers. I think those mysterious, alluring sounds create the perfect mood for introducing prospective readers to the story.
-My wife, Alice, the love of my life, for encouraging me and being my #1 fan and asking for my autograph and stuff like that. But seriously, I am grateful to her for encouraging me to consult with the aforementioned Yiddish expert, and for her loving encouragement in my life. Merci mon amour.
-My nephew Aidan, a bringer of joy and encouragement to me and those around him, of whom I could not be more proud.
-All my true blue J.U. brothers and their families, particularly Pat & Laura for their exceeding hospitality and company, and always Chris, Nikki, Dave, Thomas, Ryan, Joel, and Lucas. Several of you have kept me out of… what we’ll just call dire straits, and it’s been honor to know each of you upon the path. Here’s to many more years of fantastic times and brotherhood.
-My friend Ray, who created valuable promotional resources and planning materials for the tour. Ray’s friendship and encouragement has been a major spirit-lifter during these strange pandemic years.
This book also represents my attempt to honor David Berman, Frank Stanford, Allen Ginsberg, and Walt Whitman, poets whose influence upon my life has been so profound, I’ve seen their creations in dreams, as well as upon the page. The most influential writer I’ve known personally has been my sister, Devon, who by the age of six was writing beautiful poems inspired by dreams. Her guidance and influence in my literary life, and life in general, can’t be overstated.
Furthermore, I would like to offer sincere thanks to the talented artists who have agreed to perform as part of the evenings of light, of songs, poems, and camaraderie, on the Wildcat World Tour:
(Jackson, MI - April 23rd)
-Jim Cherewick, S. E. Michigan legend at whose music and art I constantly marvel.
-Linda Ann Jordan, an attorney, artist, and writer whose fantastic new book, In Waves, is a smash hit.
-Jamie Niekowal, one of the most creative musicians from my hometown of Jackson, and a one-time lead rabblerouser of the beloved Midwest band, God and the Architects
(Lansing, MI - April 24th)
-Abbey Hoffman, a much-lauded singer/songwriter whose songs I cannot wait to hear in person.
-Ben Curl, a gifted and captivating fiction writer whose story, “The Gathering of Drowned Voices” was selected to be read on the popular horror-themed audio storytelling series, Chilling Tales for Dark Nights.
(Louisville, KY - April 27th)
-eremy•JIrvin, a pillar of Louisville music who’s been a member of the stellar bands Second Story Manand Whistle Peak, and who’s toured with the likes of Sebadoh and others. His album Odds & Evens got me through the drive from Louisville to Seattle one time, I still love it, and I’m majorly excited to hear his songs in person.
(Portland, OR - May 5th)
-Sunday Mornings, a dreamy duo from the fog of Portland, the mysterious beauty of their songs evokes singers like Sibylle Baier and Vashti Bunyan. Featuring one of my Bear Mountain Picnic bandmates, this band might just sweep you off your feet.
(Brussels, Belgium - June 2nd)
-Territoire des chats, an awesome stage moniker, nylon-string guitar, and beautiful, enchanting songs. Sometimes one singer, other times more, always moving and enjoyable.
-Michael Christopher, one of the best musicians I’ve ever met. He can play every Beatles’ song from memory. I know because I quizzed him once.
-Mike Murray, a multi-instrumentalist, friendly anti-social kind of guy. It’s hard not to sing along with Mike’s songs. Catchy, fun, and thought-provoking. You can tell there’s soul in his music and music in his soul.
And there’s the tour venues, mostly cherished independent bookshops, which I hope you will support:
Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light Book Tour 2022
April 21 - Chicago, Illinois - Tangible Books 7:30PM
April 22 - Ann Arbor, Michigan - Booksweet** 7:30PM
April 23 - Jackson, Michigan - Ironbark Brewing Co 7PM
April 24 - Lansing, Michigan - A Novel Concept 7PM
April 27 - Louisville, Kentucky - The Rosewater 7PM
April 29 - Seattle, Washington - Left Bank Books 7:30PM
May 5 - Portland, Oregon - Revolutions Bookshop 7PM
June 2 - Brussels, Belgium - Librebook 6:30PM
June 3 - Paris, France - La Manœuvre Librarie 7PM
June 9 - London, UK - Jewish Museum London*** 7PM
July 9 - Tel Aviv, Israel - The Little Prince TBA
**For Booksweet, please RSVP here at least one day in advance
***For Jewish Museum London, please RSVP here at least one day in advance
And last but certainly not least, thank you to all of you, dear readers, who spend time with Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light. Your interest in this story means so much to me.
All good wishes to you,
Reagan M. Sova
Blue Island, Illinois, USA