Homebound Publications is proud to offer a preview of Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity: Journal of a New England Poet by L.M. Browning, author of Ruminations at Twilight, Oak Wise and The Nameless Man. Below you can read poetic excerpts from the collection as well and the Introduction to the book written by the author. Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity will be released on October 28th but you can pre-order a signed copy today, exclusively in the Homebound Bookstore.
Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity:
Journal of a New England Poet
by L.M. Browning
Foreword by Ian Marhsall author Border Crossings and Walden by Haiku
ISBN 978-1-938846-01-4 | 6 x 9 | 110 Pgs | $14.95 pbk
This title will be released on October 28, 2012
Your order will be mailed to you in late October and will arrive in time for the 28th!
Recent Posts Concerning Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity
About the Book: Fleeting moments of fierce clarity are had when the confusion clears and the gray numbness that hangs about our senses draws back, allowing us to see the world and ourselves with sharp relief.
Follow author and New England native L.M. Browning in her wanderings across the Northeast, from the solitude of her home along the shore of Connecticut, to the rushing city streets of Boston, to the tall-pine landscape of Arcadia Park in Rhode Island to the quiet edges of Walden Pond.
This collection includes fan favorites such as: Across the Distance, Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity, The Lament of the Wayfarer and During the Long Day, Over the Sacred Night.
An Excerpt from The Introduction to Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity
The Idea of A Travel Journal
This collection was gathered together out of a desire to make a poetic journal of my various travels throughout New England. When assembling this book, there were times when I asked myself if my putting together the equivalent of a travel journal wasn’t a self-indulgent act. I mean, I am hardly wide-traveled. Born to limited means, my passport is as blank as it was the day it arrived in the mail. So given all this, what gives me the authority to compose a book boasting to be a travel journal?
As readers, we live vicariously through the adventurers of our generation. We read the chronicles of those who left the comforts of home to strike out into the untamed and unknown, and through absorbing their experiences we are emboldened to heed our own yearnings to explore. Society seems to have subconsciously adopted this notion that in leaving behind all that we have ever known, we will find ourselves—that there, at the ends of the earth, each of us can define the edges of ourself.
I think this is an unrealistic ideal.
Our imagination is sparked by those travelers who set off with reckless abandon. Yet for so many of us there is a reality gap between the life of those we follow on the page and the life we ourselves must lead. The 9-5 job hardly supports our basic survival let alone the heights of our dreams. We work from the time we rise to the time we sleep just to support the basic needs of our body, all the while having to neglect the needs of our soul.
While the number of destinations I dream of one day going to number into the dozens, my bank statement does not support the breadth of my aspirations. Do not think I am using lack of money as an excuse to stay in my comfort zone; I am not. Rather I am facing a hard truth of circumstance: Not all of us have the means to pick up and travel to different countries while heeding that desire to find ourselves. In these hard financial times, the majority of us must find ourselves while sticking relatively close to home. Leading me to ask: Must we go to the ends of the earth to find the heart of our identity?
For the majority of my life I have been hard pressed to keep food on the table, leaving the possibility of traveling abroad ever a dream. Not all of us are able to set foot upon the far-off lands that call to us.
Unable to go outward, I went inward. The radius of my physical world so limited by circumstance, I spent many impoverished years walking the internal landscapes.
When at last I was able to “loosen the belt” a bit and stretch the legs of my stiffened dreams, I found myself exploring, not foreign countries, but the rich country of New England, of which I am a native daughter.
No matter where I am situated on this Earth I think I will always be a bit of a homebody, and happily so. This is not to say I spend my days cooped up away from the sunlight, rather that I appreciate my home as a sanctuary that I am able to create and enjoy. I find peace in simple things and, having endured periods of homelessness during my childhood, have come to appreciate my small apartment along the Connecticut coastline more than anything.
Of course, in spite of my contentment at home, I do have times of restlessness. The wanderlust strikes and I feel the need to be alone within a new inviting surround. Working within my means, I cannot pick up and backpack through Europe when these feelings strike. For several years I felt denied life-defining experiences by my meager income. But like so many things in this life, it is all a matter of perspective. There is a difference between not being able to go on a fantastical, far-off trip to find one’s self and not needing to.
You do not need to go to the edges of the Earth to learn who you are, only the edges of yourself. Nature aids us in turning within yet it need not be a foreign landscape.
Travel freshens the senses. A feng shui of the horizon, when we leave behind the familiar our curiosity widens our eyes and we take in all the little details of our new environment. We each seek change but there are times when our life does not allow us to see to the needs of our spirit. In these times I make do with a walk about my hometown.
When in the confines of our hometown’s limits, we must work a little harder to feel that sense of wonder; for sadly, when we see a thing daily, the details of its beauty slowly fade into the background and become mundane.
Nevertheless, rediscovering the beauty of what has become ordinary has its own sweetness. Seeing anew the beauty of what we have gazed upon each day, which has become tired to us—this is a revelation.
After all, what was Walden Pond before Thoreau chose it as a place for his introspection? When he chose to go off on his own into the wild and reflect, he did what was within his means. He did not go abroad; he lived off a small plot of land owned by Emerson, along the banks of a pond just outside Concord—his hometown.
Normally I write spiritual verse spurred by some longing to understand the greater matters at work in my life. However, many of the poems I write while traveling describe a scene experienced. Some moments of clarity yield no philosophical insight rather, when once I was so consumed within my own thoughts, work and worries that I could not take in my own surrounds, everything sharpens. Becoming aware of the dearness in what might otherwise be regarded as mundane—this is the ultimate form of insight.
Mingled within my poetry written during my various New England wanderings are those pieces penned in the solace of my home along the Connecticut coastline during my long nights spent reflecting. While these home journal entries may not seem to fit into this collection of travel writing, as I have said, I believe our homelands to be their own treasure. Furthermore, I believe night to be its own journey. Relieved of our daylight toils and duties, our suppressed spirit can breathe at night and roam different landscapes found within our soul, mind and imagination.
Each poem in this collection features a brief journal entry penned about the same time as the verse. Some of these introductions concern spiritual realizations I experienced around that time, while others are memory-driven.
My decision to include the journal entries as introductions to the poems may be viewed as somewhat unorthodox. In contemporary poetry circles my decision to go in this direction would be questioned. A poem, it is believed, is meant to speak for itself.
Introductions are thought to narrow the reader’s ability to interpret the verse. Opponents of my style would argue that, in giving you my interpretation of the poem’s meaning, I have made it so your mind will not venture beyond the boundaries I have set. However, I believe that when a writer shares the epicenter of a poem—the place in their life from which it emanated—it can give the reader a “relating point” with the poet. As human beings we struggle with similar problems each day and though we find ourselves feeling isolated in what we endure, we actually handle our struggles in quite the same manner—we feel the same emotions and seek the same answers to the same questions.
When a poet hosts a reading, before presenting each poem to the audience, it is customary to give a brief background on the origin of the piece. I find that, when I hear a poet speak of the feelings and experiences that are at the root of the poem, I feel intimately connected with the piece as it is being read. I can still take the words into my own context and relate them to my own life but, simultaneously, I am sharing in a private moment in the poet’s life and feel bonded with them.
The poems within this collection have a different meaning for me than they will for you—the reader. The poems, for me, embody a fleeting moment of fierce clarity as they capture those brief, transcendent experiences of pure love and appreciation that, when had, affirm to us that the struggles in our daily life are worth persevering.
— L.M. Browning
Connecticut, Summer 2012