I Will Listen If You Tell Me Who I Am
by John McCluskey
24 poems, 3 short stories, 80 pages
Price $14.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9986857-8-6
Library of Congress Control Number: 2019934432
Publisher: Summerfield Publishing, d.b.a. New Plains Press
To Order: https://newplainspress.com and/or Amazon.com



John McCluskey’s new collection explores the implications of the volume’s intriguing title, I Will Listen If You Tell Me Who I Am. The absence of a comma in the title is a clue. McCluskey’s work suggests life’s continuing action, the ongoing search for identity and meaning. Through a combination of poems and short stories the author magnifies, with profound emotional intensity, life-shaping childhood memories. He remembers his father who, “with remarkable fingernails,” prays to God, recalls a painted lady, “who slithers into his room at night,” learns lessons in mortality at age nine climbing trees, tasting the pressures of competition, failure and success, the need to prove something. McCluskey is a poet whose work resonates free and easy, like walking together down a quiet forest path.



John McCluskey’s new collection is simply amazing. Known as an author who “does his homework,” McCluskey is at the height of his powers with, I Will Listen If You Will Tell Me Who I Am. We, at New Plains Press, wondered how any piece of writing could surpass his novella, A Moment of Fireflies. John’s latest work measures up entirely to his previous creation. An accomplished craftsman, his poetry and short stories have appeared in some of the country’s finest journals.
--J. Summerfield, Publisher, New Plains Press.



Author and photographer John McCluskey lives in Connecticut with his family. He obtained a Master’s degree in writing from Manhattanville College in 2007, and has worked in the IT industry for 38 years.  His first novel, "A Moment of Fireflies" was published in 2017.



The Unfinished is Glorious and Shattering
by John McCluskey

Thrill of a dead robin discovered
resting in peace and terror
and gravel in an unfinished boyhood street

where nothing yet shatters
and everything does:
gravel to glory to grief.

The unfinished is glorious and shattering;
the floor of purgatory lies littered with shards of luster;
tomorrow’s blessings of calamity matter.

When you shatter: weep.
Practice first with glory,
let your tears drop like sparrows—

a fifth for free, then you’re done.
Sorrow begets sorrow;
seclusion has begun.


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