When I last posted, it was with a remembrance of photojournalist James Lukoski, who died on July 15th at age 60. Though years ago Jim had produced notable and award-winning coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s safe to say that he and his work have now been forgotten by all but his few friends. It seems to happen again and again and again, that many of our most creative people reach the end of their lives without the wherewithal or means to keep their accomplishments in the public eye.
It was back in March of this year that I received a phone call from my first cousin, Edward Hyland, who lived in New Hampshire. It had become our habit every six months or so to talk on the phone, mostly about family, since he was an articulate, often bemused storehouse of memories that I wholly lacked. On this particular day, our conversation stretched beyond an hour. Then, as we were saying our goodbyes, Edward calmly informed me that he had been diagnosed with cancer, that he had no more than six months to live. In almost the same breath, he cautioned me not to grow too upset, since he’d lived a full life, had contributed something to others through his work in human services, had a wife and two children whom he dearly loved. But then, after a lengthy pause, he offered that his one regret was that he had never fulfilled his longtime dream of publishing a book of his poetry. You see, Edward was a dedicated and lifelong poet, who'd had his first reading at the age of sixteen.
After catching my breath, I found myself suggesting that perhaps something could be done about this. So during the months ahead, as Edward’s cruel illness advanced and his family’s care of him grew more intensive, he edited, sometimes rewrote his poems. All the while, my son Sam and I worked and reworked a design of the book that he would be happy with–of course, he wanted his first book to be a hardcover. The introduction was written by veteran writer Matthew Mayo, while Edward’s son, Dillon, took on the difficult task of writing an afterword. All of this was accomplished on a necessarily tight deadline. Edward’s wife, Robin, planned a gathering of friends and family in their home, a gathering that would, in effect, be a goodbye party. It was there that Edward was able to personally sign his new book, Faith in Winter.
And so, as it happens, our not-for-profit, Many Voices Press, became the proud publisher not of a photographic book, as had been the case in the past, but of a book of fine poetry.