Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light Acknowledgements Page

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 BermanFrank StanfordAllen 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, cant 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 seriesChilling 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. 

-Abbott Daimler, a talented songwriter and indie filmmaker, a one-time bandmate of mine in Long Whisker, I’m excited to hear his tunes.

(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

April 2022

Friday, March 25, 2022

Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light Book Tour

Dear friends and kind strangers across the land

 

you are cordially invited to join me on tour


evenings of poems, songs, and camaraderie

 

to celebrate the release of Wildcat Dreams in the Death Light


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

 

More dates may be added soon…


Monday, August 23, 2021

I DREAMED

the Chinese monk who had

beaten Columbus by 2,000 years

hunting wild hare

feeling mistrustful

when the word love is spoken



Wednesday, August 4, 2021

ITALY


in the quiet town of Cividale 

my wife and i stayed with a friend

who had spent summers there as a girl

she drove us deep into the mountains

to the stone where her father was born

we found a church built into the bramble

where a woman had plucked out her eyes

and set them upon a platter for all to see 


back in town

our friend introduced us to a 14 year old boy

who would serve as our guide

more knowledgeable than some historians i’ve met

he spoke of a man who knew every language on earth

he showed us a painting of light

and the work of Russian avant-gardists 

he told of the 16th century Italian warlocks 

whose souls could inhabit the bodies of animals 

he led us to the home of the inventor of do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti

and shepherded us across the devil’s bridge 

in the Piazza del Duomo he taught me a card game

known in the region

we played with some of the men 

who had come down from the mountain

and the way i won on the last hand

with the death card

they all said was illegal

not a violation of the rules of the game

but against the law in the Republic of Italy

they said they would not turn me in though

because that had not happened since 

they blew up the original devil’s bridge 

to prevent German soldiers from entering 

a little over a hundred years ago

i asked the boy what the inscription meant

that was written upon the death card

and he said do not trust me if you lack courage


i laid tefillin in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice 

i was body scanned by the Lithuanian Space Agency 

my wife got a new hat 

we ascended St Mark’s Campanile 

where Galileo had gathered his findings 

i did the same 

capturing a windy picture of Venice i will revisit

upon my deathbed by the mountain 


before my wife and i left

we befriended a goat 

who ate chilled melon off my palm 

we attended a party in the country 

we met a cat there named Romeo 

a hard gambling roughed up

field hobo who made me think of

the warlocks and maybe some of

Woody Guthrie’s spirit was in him

we pet him with his scabs 

and fed him treats

we had to remind him to eat

because above all he wanted love

he was a talker 

and we bid him fare thee well 

with his full belly and good purring

he slunk off into the wild pasture 

to forage and ramble

to scatter his seeds again



Marie Vasilieff - Man with Pipe


Nadezhda Andreevna Udaltsova - The Player













Monday, March 1, 2021

The Stone of Silence Where I Sharpen My Blade


I know a man who 

put a stone in the oven and 

prayed for bread 

he went to sleep hungry 

with cracked teeth

and in the morning

his neighbors cursed god 

with their laughter

 

 

Reagan M. Sova is an American writer living in Belgium. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

In Assange Case, Biden Follows Footsteps of Trump

Photo credit: Joebama W. Trump

President Biden has signaled his administration will press on with charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. 


The charges, emanating from President Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ), pose a grave threat not only to Mr. Assange but to journalists worldwide. Should Mr. Assange be handed over to the US, it would set the perilous precedent wherein powerful governments exercise universal jurisdiction to extradite and imprison foreign nationals -- for publishing newsworthy information in the public interest. 


Mr. Biden’s pursuit of Mr. Assange furthermore represents a path even President Obama – hardly a beacon of press freedom – deemed too risky to take. Mr. Obama’s DOJ rightly feared that Assange’s prosecution may lead to a New York Times problem,” meaning, the DOJ saw no way to prosecute Assange for WikiLeaks’ award-winning publications without the same theory being applied to legacy media, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, or CNN, which also publish classified information. 


Yet, regarding the Assange case and its implications for press freedom, Mr. Biden is bucking Obama-era caution, preferring the much-maligned approach of Mr. Trump. 


Though disappointing to supporters of Mr. Assange, this should not be altogether surprising. Mr. Biden has been a firmly entrenched creature of the military industrial complex which WikiLeaks seeks to undermine. And Mr. Biden, then vice president, once referred to Mr. Assange as a “high-tech terrorist.” 

Julian Assange in 2012. Photo credit: Wikipedia

But for the president’s claims on World Press Freedom Day to mean anything – for him to meet the minimal standard of rising above the repressive despots of the world – he does not even have to grant a pardon for Mr. Assange. All Mr. Biden would have to do is simply instruct his DOJ to drop the charges against the WikiLeaks founder, who, despite never having been convicted of a crime, has endured more than a decade of restrictions upon his liberty, in addition to torture, medical neglect, CIA spying, and harsh imprisonment.


In dropping the spurious and dangerous charges against Mr. Assange, Mr. Biden would truly distinguish himself from his predecessor on one of the most crucial issues of our time.  

 

Reagan M. Sova is an American novelist living in Belgium. He is a member of Artists for Assange

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Changes I’d like to see


 I’d like to see worldwide universal healthcare. 

I’d like to see worldwide universal basic income. 

I’d like to see Julian Assange set free.

 

I’d like to see Nudem Durak set free.

 

I’d like to see all political prisoners set free.

 

I’d like to see almost all caged animals set free.

 

I’d like to see factory farming destroyed.

 

I’d like to see smaller-scale farming return.

 

I’d like to see people eat almost no meat.

 

I’d like to see more gardens.

 

I’d like to see a banker weeping.

 

I’d like to see all professional sports teams run as anarcho-syndicalist collectives.

 

I’d like to see millions more people join the Industrial Workers of the World.

 

I’d like to see millions more people read David Graeber.

 

I’d like to see millions more people read Black Agenda Report.

 

I’d like to see millions more people read Glenn Greenwald.

 

I’d like to see fifty thousand more people listen to my music and read my words.

 

I’d like to see all weapons safely disassembled and melted into bicycles.

 

I’d like to see a woman cutting tomatoes and talking to the dead.

 

I’d like to see the man who got my grandpa hooked on goof dust.

 

I’d like to see the river snake that bit my leg while I was getting baptized.

 

I’d like to see Bill Gates give all his money to the Industrial Workers of the World and become a silent monk who gathers walnuts in the orchard.


I’d like to see Jeff Bezos go broke but not homeless thanks to universal basic income.

 

I’d like to see my dreams of death have a final battle.

 

I’d like to see the good ones win. 



Reagan M. Sova is an American writer living in Belgium. He is a member of Artists for Assange


This poem originally appeared on Corona-afterlife.